A Texas office suites company says it will open its first location in Tennessee in West End's American Center complex this summer. The team behind BusinesSuites says customers will be able to lease space for short periods of time here and have access to their 26 other locations in Texas, Nevada, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
Editor's note: This is the first post from the Nashville Health Care Council's 2014 Leadership Health Care Delegation to Washington. Look for more content in the coming days and click here for other entries from past years' visits.
As the 2014 election season begins to heat up, nearly 100 of Nashville’s emerging health care leaders have gathered in our nation’s capital to get an inside look at the health policy discussions that will shape the mid-term elections and affect the industry throughout 2014 and beyond. During the first day of sessions at the 12th Annual Leadership Health Care Delegation to Washington, D.C., delegates heard from a slate of speakers about topics ranging from health insurance exchange enrollment to new payment and delivery models to patient engagement.
Michael Ramlet, founder and editor of digital media company “The Morning Consult,” kicked off the delegation by discussing what he predicts will be a key factor for the industry and politicians in the coming months — whether insurance exchange enrollment will reach the Obama administration’s projected goal of 7 million. With enrollment estimates now above 4 million and a new set of data expected in the weeks ahead, these figures will help determine whether the ACA can be considered effective.
However, Ramlet (pictured at right) noted that one of the biggest, yet under-reported stories of 2014 has been the number of health insurance exchange enrollees — one in five — who have failed to pay their premiums, meaning they don’t actually have coverage. And keynote speaker Dora Hughes, senior policy advisor in the government strategies group of law firm Sidley Austin (pictured), noted that there will be an estimated 5 million individuals who will not be able to get coverage because their states are not expanding Medicaid or they do not qualify for premium subsidies but still cannot afford premium costs.
The expansion of coverage under the ACA was cited as the best part of the law by a panel of policy experts, although they argued that issues such as timing of the individual mandate and the Supreme Court ruling that made state Medicaid expansion optional have created challenges across the industry.
“What keeps me up at night is coverage expansion, and that it hasn’t happened as quickly as we would have hoped,” said Mary Ella Payne, senior vice president of policy and system legislative leadership for Ascension Health. “We don’t have coverage in Tennessee with the expansion of Medicaid and…many states have not expanded coverage. Related to that are delays that we have been seeing in moving to ACA-compliant plans and delays in the marketplace for small companies.”
Tom Nickels, senior VP of federal relations for the American Hospital Association, said although insurance coverage levels are “nowhere near what we had hoped,” he expects it will take a three-year timeframe for coverage to reach desired levels through Medicaid and the exchanges.
“So I think judgment ought to be suspended at least until we get to the end of 2016,” he said.
In the meantime, Hughes noted that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Innovation Center is working on more than 40 models for improving care delivery in terms of cost and quality, such as accountable care organizations and bundled payments. And although there are more than 260 active ACOs around the country, reports on their effectiveness so far have been mixed.
But one thing is certain. Health care will have a leading role in the 2014 elections.
Ramlet pointed to a poll that shows independent voters evenly spit on which of the major parties they trust more on health care issues. Because of that split, what happens in the months ahead — with exchange enrollment and the perceived value of the health plans, provider experiences, and whether employers drop coverage in favor of pushing employees to exchanges — will be critical.
“There will probably be three big issues,” Ramlet said. “The economy, health care, and the third is open to debate… but health care, you can be sure, will be a major election issue.”
Nashville-based Jumpstart Foundry was named one of the 15 best business accelerators in the nation, according to CrunchBase data and original reporting presented Monday at SXSW. MIT professor Yael Hochberg and Susan Cohen of the University of Richmond and the University of Virginia complied the results, ranking Jumpstart 14th.
The accelerators were measured using several criteria, including the valuations their portfolio companies achieved in the years after graduation, the number of exits an accelerator had, the ability of companies to receive additional financing after they left the program and opinions of venture investors and graduation entrepreneurs.
Just last month, the business incubator became an independent entity after leaving Solidus.
Find CrunchBase's full list here.
Local credit card manufacturer EFT Source has recruited an expert in chip-based payment cards to help it prepare for the U.S. rollout of that technology, which looks to be gathering steam in the wake of the data breaches at Target and elsewhere. Dmitry Tarusov comes to the company from German company Giesecke & Devrient and also has worked at Threshold Financial Technologies.
“The recent data breaches have increased the discussion around EMV and created a new sense of urgency for its implementation, however there is still no step-by-step plan in place and many unanswered questions,” said Bill Dinker, president of EFT Source. “Dmitry’s experience and comprehensive knowledge of EMV and its outlying considerations offset the unknown. His expertise will be invaluable to us and the customers we serve as the industry’s migration approaches.”
Avondale Partners analyst Mark Montagna says investors shouldn't be surprised if Dollar General later this week guides its 2014 EPS outlook below the $3.70 the Street now sees the company making. Growth in the company's sales per square foot is slowing and the growth in tobacco sales will continue to pressure margins. Montagna has trimmed his EPS forecast for the year to $3.60 from $3.70 and his price target to $65 from $67. Dollar General shares (Ticker: DG) closed Friday at $59.39 and are down slightly over the past three months.
The easy gains are in the past and DG is now a story of 2%-4% comps, square footage growth of approx. 6%-7%, EBIT gaining 10-20 bp, and buying back approx. 3% of shares outstanding. This should consistently deliver EPS gains of 8%-12%.
The average per-gallon price of regular gas in Nashville on Sunday was $3.22, unchanged from the mark of a week ago and up 13 cents from the $3.09 figure from a month ago, according to AAA The Auto Club Group.
Relatedly, Tennessee’s average price was $3.22 Sunday, up on cent compared to the $3.23 figure from the previous week.
Although gas prices haven’t spiked yet, they are still on the rise, AAA reports. Pump prices rose about three cents from the nationwide mark last week, with Southeastern states making smaller gains.
“Although we haven’t seen gas prices spike yet, motorists should still expect them to rise well into spring,” Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group, said in a release. “At this point, there are several factors that have placed upward pressure on oil prices in addition to seasonal maintenance and jump in demand.”
Last week, the market got some positive news that payrolls increased more than forecast for February, AAA reports. In addition, the current geopolitical tensions in Russia have the market concerned about a possible supply disruption at a time when fuel demand picks up globally, the auto group added.
A barrel of oil closed Friday at 102.58 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, one cent more than the figure of the week prior.
For comparison with Tennessee’s average of $3.22, Georgia’s average price for a gallon of regular gas was $3.32 yesterday, up two cents compared to the mark of the previous Sunday. Florida's average of $3.49 rose three cents.
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital opened a new clinic last month dedicated to researching and treating a rare childhood disorder — alternating hemiplegia of childhood — that causes unpredictable paralysis.
Funded through a $169,154 grant provided by the Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood Foundation last year, the AHS clinic is led by Dr. Kevin Ess, director of the division of pediatric neurology and arose out of his research collaboration with Dr. Alfred George, director of the division of genetic medicine. AHC is a rare genetic disorder diagnosed in approximately 1,000 children worldwide, causing sporadic partial or total paralysis. The causative gene, ATP1A3, was only recently discovered.
"We're excited about the genetic research we'll be able to do and the possible therapies we'll explore," Ess said. "Through our research, we're hopefully going to identify new therapies and medications that may help alleviate the symptoms of AHC."
Outback Concerts and actor Vince Vaughn's Wild West Productions are teaming up to produce a four-day comedy festival that will feature Bill Burr, Marc Maron and Dennis Miller, among others. The shows will take place at Zanies, TPAC and Third Man Records.
Brentwood-based law firm Ingraham, Pautienus and Tidwell PLLC has changed its name to Fidelis Law PLLC.
In a release, the firm did not disclose the cost of the change.
The name change is due to a “significant expansion” of the seven-attorney firm’s practice, according to the release. Fidelis is Latin for faithful.
Fidelis Law has been in operation for 22 years. The firm focuses on business, nonprofit and church law, as well as individuals and families with needs in estate planning, probate, trust administration, personal injury, adoption, family law, elder law, and copyright and trademark registration and enforcement.