Saturday, February 22, 2003

Tristate A.M. Report


Compiled from staff and wire reports

Health Alliance, Aetna reach deal

An alliance of regional hospitals said Friday it has resolved a dispute with Aetna Health Inc. and won't cancel a contract that serves about 3,000 health maintenance organization customers.

The Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, which includes six major hospitals, had said on Feb. 3 that it would end its contract with Aetna by March 1 unless payment and contract language issues could be resolved.

The contract is extended for a year as long as Aetna makes certain changes and will continue uninterrupted coverage to patients covered by Aetna HMO contracts in Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky.

The health alliance represents University Hospital, Christ Hospital, Jewish Hospital and Fort Hamilton Hospital in Ohio; St. Luke East and St. Luke West hospitals in Kentucky; and 80 doctors employed by Alliance Primary Care.

Aetna agreed to adopt reimbursement procedures more similar to those of other health insurers. Aetna has been using different procedures that make it more expensive for the hospitals and doctors to request payment from Aetna for medical services, alliance spokeswoman Gail Myers said.

Xavier offeringnew honors program

Xavier University's Board of Trustees approved a new honors program Friday, the first in nearly 30 years.

The interdisciplinary program, called "Philosophy, Politics and the Public," is the first of its kind at an American university, school officials said. It was inspired by programs at Oxford, Yale and the University of Pennsylvania, though it is the first to concentrate on the public as a central theme.

"Programs in public policy abound," said Paul Colella, a philosophy professor and director of the new program. "What makes this program so unique and so intriguing is the third element: the public. It's an arena in which ... individuals can stretch themselves to become something more."

Students will study community and public responsibility, drawing on many disciplines. Classes will be taught by philosophers, historians, political scientists and others and will include seminars and individualized study programs.

The program is expected to begin in the fall with 15 to 20 students.

Miami U. Hamiltongets new director

HAMILTON - Daniel Hall will leave the University of Toledo to become executive director of Miami University's Hamilton branch campus.

Hall was selected following a national search and begins work in July. He is chairman of the criminal justice department at UT.

"Dr. Hall is committed to ensuring that the benefits of higher education are accessible to everyone," said Provost Ronald Crutcher. "He is sensitive to the special needs of commuter and nontraditional students and will be a strong advocate for Miami Hamilton."

Earlier, Hall spent nine years at the Brevard County campus of the University of Central Florida, where he served his final year as associate chief executive officer of academic planning.

He succeeds Jack Rhodes, who retired in June 2002. Lee Sanders has been serving as acting executive director.

Fund-raisers to helptot who had surgery

HAMILTON - Two fund-raisers for the American Heart Association are being held in honor of Bailey Michelle Johnson, an 11-month-old girl who had open-heart surgery four months ago to correct a congenital heart defect.

A group of the girl's supporters, who call themselves "Bailey's Buddies," coordinated the events with the help of two area businesses, said Richard St. John, Fairfield Township police chief and Bailey's grandfather.

From noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Samson Gym & Tanning Center, 1188 Hamilton-Cleves Road, will conduct group fitness classes from spinning (indoor bicycling) to aerobics. Cost is $10 each. Information: 867-8222.

Aurgroup Financial Credit Union, which has several area locations, is selling stuffed bears until the Heart Mini Marathon is held March 30. Proceeds will go to the charity. Information: 867-1550.

Beware of drivingon flooded roads

Melting snow means rising water and the possibility of flooding. The Ohio State Highway Patrol is cautioning drivers to be on the lookout for flooded roadways and offers the following tips:

• Heavy trucks and four-wheel drive vehicles are just as susceptible to being swept away by water as smaller vehicles.

• Never try to drive into a flooded roadway - it takes only 2 feet of water to float most cars.

• Be overcautious and avoid any roadway with standing or flowing water, even if vehicles in front have successfully crossed.

Follow the following tips if your car becomes submerged:

• Wear a seat belt to increase chances of surviving the impact.

• If the vehicle is floating, the best escape is through an open window before the water level reaches it.

• If the vehicle is sinking, move to the back seat and breathe trapped air while planning an exit.

• Exit through an open window or by opening a door when inside pressure is equal to outside pressure. Passengers can exit by breaking the rear window.




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