Morning Minutes: June 19

Nicole Lunger/Missouri Business Alert
Missouri lobbyists are on track to spend $1 million on gifts for lawmakers this year. | Nicole Lunger/Missouri Business Alert

Here are this morning’s top headlines.

Medical Information Services Company Expands In KC Area

Quest Diagnostics Inc. will hire up to 500 new jobs at a new Lenexa, Kan., facility, most involved in customer service. The Quest Diagnostics National Operations Center is designed to extend and enhance customer services for the company’s health care clients throughout the United States.

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UnitedHealthcare Cuts More Physicians From Medicare Plan

UnitedHealthcare, which terminated almost 100 Missouri physicians from its Medicare Advantage plan in April, has notified more physicians in Missouri that they will be removed on Sept. 1. The provider said in April that eventually 5 percent to 7 percent of the more than 10,000 physicians in the state would be eliminated this year.

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Lobbyists Spent $559,000 For Missouri Lawmakers During 2014 Session

Lobbyists are on track to spend nearly $1 million this year on gifts for Missouri lawmakers, about on par with past years. The types of gifts vary greatly — from expensive meals and drinks to tickets for sporting events to small things like stamps and books.

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Columbia’s Economic Development Director To Retire

Mike Brooks, president of Regional Economic Development Inc. and Columbia’s economic development director since 2009, announced his retirement. Highlights of Brooks’ career include bringing Columbia an IBM service delivery center, which created approximately 500 jobs, and a factory for Beyond Meat.

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Dairy Farms, Milk Production Declining In Missouri

When Alfred Brandt was growing up in the 1970s, the family’s dairy farm was one of about 40 in Osage County, and most of them were small operations with about 50 milking cows. Today, there are only five dairy farms in the mid-Missouri county, and they all have at least twice that many cows so they can stay in business.

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