Health Care Checkup: Walmart expands health care business

The Health Care Checkup, a weekly rundown of the state’s top health care headlines, is sponsored by Heyen Wellness Therapies.

Walmart 1Taking the Pulse

Walmart will sell health insurance at  locations

Another national store is joining the health care feeding frenzy. Following a foray into the market by Walgreen’s a few weeks ago, Walmart will partner with online insurance sales agency to put agents in 2,700 of its 4,311 stores nationwide for a program called Healthcare Begins Here. Walmart hasn’t released a definitive list of locations for the service, but a company spokesperson told the St. Louis Business Journal the list would include two St. Louis stores. Walmart’s list of HCBH open house events to educate customers lists 97 stores in Missouri.

This isn’t Walmart’s first foot in the health care waters, as the company launched primary care service in select locations a few months ago. Healthcare Begins Here will run from Oct. 10 to Dec. 7.

Saint Luke’s taps McCarthy Building Cos. for renovation

Saint Luke’s East hospital in Lee’s Summit is teaming with St. Louis-based contractor McCarthy Building Cos. for a $2 million renovation and addition project. Plans include the construction of an MRI room and the conversion of office space into a break room. The latest pairing comes after McCarthy, which opened its Kansas City branch in May, received a contract to build Saint Luke’s Medical Group’s primary care clinic in June. The Saint Luke’s East project is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

Number of the Week I: 100 percent

The percentage of the top 25 highest-paid Missouri state employees who work in the Department of Mental Health. Of those, 21 are either physicians or physician specialists, with salaries ranging between $191,966 and $374,855. For sake of comparison, Gov. Jay Nixon makes a reported $133,820.88 annually and state supreme court judge Richard Teitelman makes $151,178.88. Meanwhile, at the University of Missouri, 19 of the 25 highest-paid employees work in health care.

Number of the Week II: 150,000

The number of Missourians who signed up for health care under the state exchange last year. Based on the report by the Department of Health and Human Services, that’s the 11th most signups of any state in the nation for the open enrollment period from last October to March 2014.

Quote of the Week

“It’s just insanity.”

Larry Poger of Poger O’Connor and Associates, an insurance brokerage firm in Clayton, describing the increase in the amount businesses with 10 to 100 employees will have to pay for coverage in the second year of the Affordable Care Act. Poger says he has seen costs jump 30 percent or more for some small businesses.

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