Author Archives: Greg Sexton

jda - cloud computing

WGM Associates acquires Nimbus

WGM Associates, a Scottsdale-based information technology consulting and application development firm, has acquired Phoenix-based Nimbus Optimized Computing. Terms of the deal between the two privately-held firms were not disclosed.

Nimbus plans, designs and delivers cloud computing solutions to help small and medium-sized businesses consolidate and standardize their information technology systems while reducing costs and improving reliability and management functions.
With the acquisition, WGM has hired Nimbus founder Jeff Beall, who will now serve as WGM’s vice president of business development.

“The Nimbus acquisition allows WGM to broaden our suite of managed IT services to include cloud technology providers such as Amazon Web Services, SherWeb, Savvis and Phoenix-based IO Data Centers,” said Chuck Matthews, CEO of WGM Associates. “Nimbus is an ideal addition to our technology solutions and with more than 20 years of industry experience, Jeff Beall brings broad expertise to the growing WGM team.”

Matthews said the acquisition further cements WGM’s leading position to provide IT solutions that are reliable, secure and cost effective. WGM prides itself on helping businesses use technology to foster efficiency, productivity and value. The firm serves a broad array of industry sectors including real estate, health care, professional services and nonprofit organizations.

“This is a strategic move by WGM,” said Tim FitzGerald, a noted industry expert and vice president of cloud solutions for Avnet Technology Solutions, Americas. “At Avnet, we understand and promote the power of cloud computing to help our solution provider partners and suppliers to accelerate their growth. We believe that a customer-centric approach like this provides efficiencies to businesses of all sizes.”

Beall added Nimbus provides a powerful suite of cloud computing solutions which are accessible and affordable. “This approach helps businesses optimize their technology infrastructure enabling a stable, predictable and profitable way to manage their business,” he said.

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MJ Insurance reports record revenue

MJ Insurance, one of the nation’s largest privately-held insurance agencies, has reported double digit year-over-year growth with an 11 percent increase across all business lines. The agency also reported record all-time high revenues of $25 million.

MJ’s fiscal year runs from September to September and for fiscal 2013, MJ saw solid growth in both employee benefits and in property and casualty revenues. Even as the economy has struggled, MJ has recorded strong revenue gains over the past five years.

Michael H. Bill, CEO of MJ Insurance, attributes the growth and record revenue to continued investment through the economic downturn in both employees and value-added services for clients.

“Our approach is to align our efforts with clients that emphasize value and this has proven beneficial as the economy has improved,” said Bill. “Challenges brought forth with health care reform have also allowed us to help guide businesses through this historic change.”

MJ Insurance, with offices in Indiana and Arizona, is a property-casualty and employee benefits agency that, since 1964, has grown from a two-person start-up to an agency with more than 125 employees. In 2014, MJ will celebrate its 50th ‘golden’ anniversary.

MJ Insurance specializes in a diverse selection of unique service lines including construction, energy, transportation, real estate, manufacturing, sororities and mining. MJ also offers complete employee benefits programs including major medical, group disability, group life and onsite employer clinics. MJ Insurance currently has clients in 16 countries and in every U.S. state.

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Banner Thunderbird celebrates 30th anniversary

Banner Thunderbird Medical Center will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a free community health fair/anniversary celebration from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 9 on the hospital’s campus, 5555 W. Thunderbird Road in Glendale.

Banner Thunderbird opened in 1983 as a 150-bed-hospital with a single patient tower, eleven Emergency Room beds and six operating rooms. Today, Banner Thunderbird has four patient towers, 561 beds, an acre-size emergency room with 85 beds and 21 operating rooms.

To celebrate three decades of caring for the community, the public is invited to enjoy free food, entertainment and health screenings at a free community health fair/anniversary celebration at the hospital.

Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale, AZ, specializes in heart care, surgical services, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedic surgery, emergency care, behavioral health, cancer care and pediatrics including the West Valley’s only pediatric intensive care unit, pediatric Emergency department and Level III neonatal intensive care unit. The hospital is part of Banner Health, a nonprofit health system with 24 hospitals in seven states. For more information, visit www.BannerHealth.com/Thunderbird.

Aerospace and defense industry - AZ Business Magazine March/April 2012

Aerospace & Defense Forum launches Arizona Chapter

The Aerospace & Defense Forum, a global aerospace and defense organization promoting collaboration and commerce among industry leaders, has established an Arizona chapter which will launch in October.

An impressive line-up of Arizona business leaders will lead the Arizona Chapter Steering Committee and host monthly meetings and networking events. The Phoenix meetings will be hosted by the international law firm Greenberg Traurig and the Tucson meetings will be hosted by law firm Snell & Wilmer. Monthly chapter meetings will take place the second Tuesday of each month, alternating between Phoenix and Tucson, and include networking opportunities, presentations by aerospace and defense industry experts and small group discussions and at least once a year, a tour of an A&D facility not generally available to the public.

Ivan Rosenberg, President and CEO of Frontier Associates is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of A&D Forum. Stephane Frijia, Director, Research and Strategy at the Greater Phoenix Economic Council will serve as Chapter Chair of the Arizona A&D Forum.

In addition, those serving on the founding Arizona A&D Steering Committee include:
* Jerry Fellows, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, Phoenix
* Brett Johnson, Partner, Snell & Wilmer, Phoenix
* Richard Katz, Counsel, Snell & Wilmer, Tucson
* Bruce Macdonough, Co-Managing Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, Phoenix
* Peter Vedder, Director, Civil Space and Space Services, General Dynamics C4 Systems

“We’re thrilled to bring this proven collaborative format to the Arizona A&D community,” said Rosenberg. “A&D companies have discovered that A&D Forum membership and group involvement provides an unmatched source of new ideas for improving both their top and bottom lines, as well as a forum for learning best practices and solving problems.”

The inaugural meeting of the Arizona chapter will take place Oct. 8, with a keynote presentation by Lt. Gen. Gene Tattini, Deputy Director, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), entitled,  “Dare Mighty Things: Turning Around Two A&D Organizations.” Tattini is also former Commander of the United States Air Force Space and Missile System Center.

Currently, there are more than 700 international leaders involved in the A&D Forum. Other A&D Chapters are located in Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange County, Calif. In Arizona, there are more than 2,000 companies in the aerospace and defense industry providing more than 43,000 jobs and significant positive economic impact.

“The Greater Phoenix Economic Council reported more than $13 billion in defense contracts with Arizona ties in 2012 alone. These high-paying jobs make a significant economic impact in our state and we are proud to support and encourage industry growth,” said Greenberg Traurig Co-Managing Shareholder Bruce Macdonough. “We also look forward to raising the visibility of Arizona a top-tier destination for the best aerospace and defense companies to grow and prosper.”

Each monthly meeting is free of charge, but registration is required. To RSVP for the Oct. 8 meeting, visit: https://adfazoct13.eventbrite.com.

legal

Greenberg Traurig Expands Phoenix Labor Practice

The Phoenix office of the international law firm, Greenberg Traurig, has expanded its Labor and Employment Practice, adding two seasoned shareholders to serve client demand. Three accomplished employment attorneys, all listed in the 2014 edition of Best Lawyers in America, and two experienced associates, now comprise the firm’s growing Phoenix practice group.

The group will host its 13th Annual Labor and Employment Seminar on Wednesday, October 2nd at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Presentations will focus on emerging trends in labor and employment law and suggestions and strategies for enhanced compliance with applicable laws, in areas such as social media, the Affordable Care Act, immigration, wage and hour and workplace investigations.

Greenberg Traurig’s Phoenix Labor and Employment Practice includes shareholders Laurent Badoux and James Nelson, counsel Mona Stone, and associates Dana Hooper and Lindsay Schafer. The group has a wide mix of experience in labor and employment litigation and advice. Specifically:

* Laurent Badoux focuses his practice exclusively on labor and employment law, with an emphasis on compensation, employee relations and transnational employment issues. His broad range of experience includes collective and class actions litigation, collective bargaining agreement negotiations and arbitration, restrictive covenants and the defense of administrative charges involving various state and federal agencies across the U.S. Badoux is a frequent lecturer, both nationally and internationally, a former UNLV adjunct faculty member and has extensive experience in employee training.

* James Nelson represents employers and plan fiduciaries in matters concerning ERISA compliance, fiduciary responsibility, collective bargaining, wage and hour, employee benefits, safety, discrimination, wrongful termination among others. Nelson’s litigation experience includes complex litigation, class action defense, administrative proceedings and appeals.

* Mona Stone advises both entrepreneurs and Fortune 50 companies on employment policies and agreements, compliance with local, state and federal laws including the FCPA and employee issues. She is a published author on employment law including employer guides on EEOC investigations, employment handbooks and policies and non-compete agreements. Having successfully defended numerous employee complaints at administrative hearings, arbitrations, mediations and trials throughout the U.S., Stone is called upon to be a frequent speaker at seminars and client training sessions.

* Dana Hooper focuses her practice in the areas of commercial litigation, employment law and sports law. Her litigation experience includes alternative dispute resolution and collective and class action defense. Hooper is certified as an athlete’s agent and provides legal representation to sports-oriented individuals and businesses.

* Lindsay Schafer works with clients on business litigation and complex commercial disputes. She maintains a particular practice emphasis on employment litigation. Schafer is experienced defending administrative complaints and lawsuits involving claims of employment discrimination, breach of employment contract and wrongful discharge in federal and state court.

Cost to attend the Labor and Employment Seminar is $75 per person or $50 each for groups of three or more. Admission includes lunch and refreshment. For more information and to register, please visit: http://www4.gtlaw.com/marketing/LE/21955/index.html. Registration deadline is Sept. 25.

playhouse

Homebuilder donates playhouses to Phoenix Zoo charity

Brookfield Communities, a successful master-plan developer of two Arizona active adult communities and large land-holder, has teamed up with its architect partners to custom design and build two unique playhouses to help raise money for the Phoenix Zoo’s conservation initiatives and educational programs.

Phil Petersen, founder and president of Brookfield Communities and also a Phoenix Zoo board member stated, “We are proud to be working with the Phoenix Zoo and hope these playhouses help raise significant dollars. Special thanks to Christoph Kaiser of Christoph Kaiser, LLC and Larry Allen of 33 North Architects for designing these one-of-a-kind playhouses.”

‘Wild Child Playhouse’ the first of two houses, is an animal themed, 56-square-foot, two room, professionally hand-crafted, high-quality, playhouse – being raffled by the Zoo. Its custom design features a covered wrap around porch, a built in play table and desk. Raffle entries are $20 each or six for $100. They can be purchased at www.PhoenixZoo.org, by visiting the Zoo’s Guest Services Lobby (admission to the Zoo is not required for viewing or purchasing an entry to win) or on Saturday, Oct. 12 during the Zoo’s Rendez-Zoo event.

The playhouse is now on display at the Phoenix Zoo and is available for viewing during regular Zoo hours. One winner will be randomly selected on Oct. 12 via a computer drawing, the evening of the Phoenix Zoo’s annual benefit, Rendez-Zoo. The winner does not need to be present to win.

Additionally, a second playhouse is currently being designed by Brookfield Communities and its partners. This one, which will be shaped like a bird house, will be included in Rendez-Zoo’s silent auction portion of the evening on Oct. 12.

“We are pleased that Brookfield Communities and its architect partners are providing these
professionally-designed handcrafted playhouses to help raise money for the Phoenix Zoo,” said Bert Castro, president and chief executive officer of Arizona Zoological Society/Phoenix Zoo. “Judging from the impressive renderings, these playhouses are sure to be a hit.”

The fourth annual Rendez-Zoo will be held at the Phoenix Zoo on Saturday, Oct. 12. The festivities will begin with a welcome in the Zoo’s Plaza by some of the Phoenix Zoo’s animals and their keepers. Guests will then embark on their culinary adventure in the new C.W. & Modene Neely Education and Event Center, where some of the Valley’s best known restaurants, wineries and breweries will offer tasty delights. This will also be the time to experience a preview of ZooLights and bid on unique items and travel experiences in the silent auction. An elegant dinner will be served lakeside by Chef Skip Hause of Fabulous Food, followed by an exciting live auction, dancing to the sounds of Ron Alosi and late-night coffee under the stars.

To purchase raffle entries and/or make reservations for Rendez-Zoo, visit phoenixzoo.org/rendezzoo.

Dr. David Moromisato

New CMO at Cardon Children’s

David Moromisato, MD, has joined Banner Children’s at Cardon Children’s Medical Center as chief medical officer.

Dr. Moromisato’s extensive medical background includes nearly 20 years of service in the health care industry. He began his medical career as a staff physician in the pediatric intensive care unit at Combined Harbor – UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, CA. He’s worked as a staff physician in the infant cardiac surgery unit at St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles and also as medical director for the intensive care and pediatric intensive care units at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys, CA.

Dr. Moromisato comes to Cardon Children’s after serving as medical director of the heart institute inpatient services and chief patient safety officer at Childrens Hospital in Los Angeles, a 317-bed tertiary care children’s hospital. During his tenure at Childrens Hospital, Dr. Moromisato has been responsible for overseeing and providing leadership for patient and employee safety, clinical organization and team performance and improved patient satisfaction rates.

“We’re excited and honored for Dr. Moromisato to continue his professional journey with us at Banner Health,” said Rhonda Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of Cardon Children’s Medical Center. “His stellar accomplishments in the clinical care of children and neonates, his national reputation in pediatric cardiovascular care and his impressive leadership skills will help us continue our mission of providing exceptional patient care in a family-focused environment.”

“I am honored to join the team at Cardon Children’s Medical Center,” said Dr. Moromisato. “My goal is to fulfill our mission by ensuring that the children we treat receive the highest quality and safest care possible. It’s important that we continue to be the proven leader in pediatric care by bringing innovative new treatments and services to Arizona children.”

Dr. Moromisato received his medical degree from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, Ill and did his residency at the University of Southern California School of Medicine in Los Angeles. He has a master’s degree in health administration from the University of Southern California: Sol Price School of Public Policy in Los Angeles where he’s also an adjunct instructor. Dr. Moromisato serves on a variety of committees and councils and is an invited national and regional speaker on topics of quality, safety and organizational culture.

Banner Children’s at Cardon Children’s Medical Center provides pediatric care for children, from newborns to teens. Services include emergency care, a Level III neonatal intensive care unit, general pediatrics, surgical and rehabilitation services, cardiology, hematology/oncology, urology, gastroenterology, neurology, outpatient services and children’s wellness community education. For more information, visit www.BannerHealth.com/CardonChildrens.

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Smith to lead Banner Health Information Technology

Ryan L. Smith has been appointed Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Banner Health. Coming from Intermountain Healthcare after 20 years of various Information Technology (IT) leadership positions, including his most recent as Administrative Vice President of Applications and Operations, Smith will be replacing Mike Warden, who is retiring on Sept. 30.

“Banner Health is a leading health system in the country and recognized for its IT excellence,” Smith said. “While it’s not easy to leave my friends and colleagues at Intermountain, I’m honored to be joining such an accomplished team at Banner and look forward to the great things we can achieve working together,” Smith added.

At Intermountain, Smith’s leadership accountability included more than 800 IT professionals supporting operations throughout that organization. Smith’s leadership portfolio also included the development and execution of a three-year plan to electronically exchange clinical data between aligned physicians in outpatient, community settings and Intermountain’s electronic health records system. He also led the effort to establish and implement the business vision and strategy for Intermountain’s online services, which included a secure patient portal, physician portal, workforce portal, online family history application, online team collaboration tools and consumer oriented mobile tools.

“In addition to Ryan being a highly talented executive with a demonstrated ability to collaborate, his experience base matches where Banner is going in the coming years,” said Banner Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Ron Bunnell. “We’re fortunate that Ryan is joining our team,” said Bunnell.

Smith is anticipated to arrive at his post at Banner on Tuesday, Oct. 1. A graduate of the University of Utah with a Master of Business Administration in IT Management, as well, Smith will be moving with his wife and five children to the Phoenix area where Banner Health headquarters are located.

Income Tax Traps

Enterprise awarded $40 million tax credit allocation

Enterprise Financial CDE, LLC, a subsidiary of Enterprise Financial Services Corp. (EFSC), has been selected by the U.S. Treasury Department to receive a $40 million allocation of New Markets Tax Credits to provide financing for community development  projects and qualified businesses located in low income communities in Arizona and Enterprise’s other markets.

Locally, Enterprise Bank & Trust, also a subsidiary of EFSC, is one of only three financial institutions selected to receive tax credit allocations. This is the second allocation of new market tax credits that Enterprise has received over the past three years, totaling $75 million.

“This is a program that allows us to contribute greatly to the communities in which we serve,” noted Jack Barry, chairman of Enterprise Bank & Trust’s Arizona region. “This is significant since not only does it allow for community projects in much-needed areas of our community, but it also provides job creation and long-term positive economic impact.”

The New Markets Tax Credit program was established by Congress in December 2000 to allow individual and corporate taxpayers to receive a federal income tax credit for making equity investments in organizations such as Enterprise Financial CDE, LLC that agree to invest in businesses and real estate developments located in low-income communities – areas which had historically been passed over for such investments.

Last year, Enterprise  provided $10 million in new markets tax credit allocation to assist with the development of Oasis Hospital, an orthopedic and spinal injury health care facility in central Phoenix.

Enterprise Bank & Trust is primarily focused on serving the needs of privately held businesses, their owner families, executives and professionals. In Phoenix, Enterprise Bank & Trust has two branches, one in north Scottsdale and a centrally-located Camelback Corridor location.

verma

Vermaland buys 8,000 acres at La Osa Ranch

Vermaland LLC, a land banking and land development company based in Phoenix, has made its first significant investment in the southeast Valley land market – and its largest to date – with the purchase of 8,000 acres in La Osa Ranch, a master-plan community near Casa Grande.

Vermaland bought 4,000 acres in La Osa Ranch in 2012 and recently acquired an additional 4,000 acres in the same community. Strategically located off of Interstate-10 between Greater Phoenix and Tucson, long-term plans call for residential, retail and commercial development at La Osa Ranch. The deal is one of the largest land deals in recent history and indicative of an improving real estate market.

“The market has been buoyant in the past six months and while we have made significant land sales, we also have seen great buying opportunities,” said Vermaland CEO Kuldip Verma. “The opportunities we have the land market will not been seen in the next 10 years.”

Vermaland currently has the largest holdings of 50-1,200 acre parcels in metro Phoenix and the La Osa Ranch is its first significant investment in the southeast Valley.

Verma said besides its location, La Osa Ranch is attractive because of the advanced ground-work already completed including all water and land studies. Current plans call for more than 33,000 residential lots, 1,000 acres of commercial development and 2,000 acres of open space, parks and trail systems. The purchasing entity for the project is Verma La Osa Ranch, an LLC holding company for Verma Legacy Trust.

Verma said the residential real estate industry and land sale market are increasingly improving throughout Greater Phoenix and Arizona as a whole. Currently, finished residential lots are seeing double their value in comparison to 2011, with most foreclosures being flushed out. He added that 2013 will have more raw land sales than 2008-2012 combined and that 2013’s raw land market is seeing record activity halfway through the year and expects this pace to continue. On a side note, Verma added that raw land remains a valued commodity given that only 17 percent of all land in Arizona is private land.

Vermaland prides itself on the ownership of high-quality land parcels with good road access, electricity and water, proximity to substations and flat land conditions to allow for easier building. In the height of 2007 and 2008, Vermaland supplied land to some of the nation’s largest solar projects. Because of limited expansion options in most areas of Phoenix, other than the west Valley and southeast valley, Vermaland entities have maintained their portfolio in these two areas.

bank loan

Enterprise Financial net income jumps 26%

Enterprise Financial Services Corp. reported net income of $11.0 million  for the quarter ended June 30, 2013, an increase of 26% compared to net income of $8.8 million for the prior year period.  Net income per diluted share was $0.58 for the second quarter of 2013, an increase of 32% compared to $0.44 per diluted share for the second quarter of 2012.

Peter Benoist, President and CEO, commented, “Second quarter results reflect continuing favorable performance trends. Earnings per share rose 32% over the prior year quarter, following a 71% year-over-year gain in the first quarter. At midyear, the Company is generating strong profitability, producing an annualized return on assets of 1.35% and return on common equity of 17.34%.”

“Earnings gains in the quarter were driven by further improvement in asset quality, resulting in a $4.3 million net loan loss provision benefit on our non-covered loans“, continued Benoist. “Our nonperforming asset and nonperforming loan ratios have been reduced to roughly their levels in 2008 and, while we may still see some volatility in these metrics, the general trends remain favorable. Our risk assessment processes have led to commensurate reductions in loan loss reserves, although reserves continue to cover more than 100% of our nonperforming loans.”

“While price competition for quality C&I loans remains intense, we’re adhering to our pricing discipline. We’re pleased that we were able to maintain our core net interest margin in the second quarter and still produce growth in C&I loans consistent with our mid-single digit annual growth expectation. We’ll continue to trade off volume for profitability as appropriate to create shareholder value.”

Benoist added, “Covered assets again contributed materially to our earnings. Net revenues from FDIC loss share assets totaled $6.6 million in the second quarter, bringing the total net revenue contribution life to date from those assets to more than $82 million.”

Banner Good Samaritan

E.V. residents can preview Banner Health Center

East Valley residents and visitors can be among the first to see the new Banner Health Center at a free “Community Preview” from 8 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3, at the center located at 1435 S. Alma Road, south of the Loop 202 between West Pecos and West Germann Roads.

Participants can hear the opening remarks and join in the dedication at 8:30 a.m., followed by a celebration including healthy snacks, giveaways, children’s activities and information about Banner Health facilities and services. Community members are invited to meet the center’s primary care physicians and staff, tour the new center, and even make an appointment to see a physician.

Banner Health Center in Chandler will open for patient care on Wednesday, Aug. 7 starting at 7 a.m. Staff physicians will include two pediatricians, three family medicine physicians and one internal medicine physician with plans to increase in the future. Along with 18 exam rooms, basic imaging and laboratory services are also available on site for added patient convenience.

Banner Health Centers accept most insurance plans. The center will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday with same day and next day appointments available. Concierge staff answers the phones one hour before and one hour after center hours. To schedule an appointment or for more information, call (480) 668-1600.

The center will offer a wide range of services including:
·         Well-child checkups and immunizations
·         Adult physcials
·         Care for chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma
·         Treatment for ear aches, sore throats and infections
·         Sports injury and fracture care
·         Minor skin irritation treatment
·         Cuts and suture removal

The Banner Health Center in Chandler is the third of four in the East Valley to open after a shared groundbreaking on Oct. 25, 2012. Banner Health Center in Queen Creek opened May 1; a center in Gilbert opened May 22 and another will open in East Mesa in early September. An additional Banner Health Center opened in Goodyear within the planned community of Estrella on July 10, joining the existing Banner Health Centers in Peoria/Sun City West, Surprise, Buckeye in the Verrado Community, Maricopa, and South Loveland, CO.

Banner Good Samaritan Hospital

Innovative Banner program helps cut healthcare costs

In its first year of performance, Banner Health Network (BHN) was successful in delivering more coordinated care and a considerable savings over traditional fee-for-service Medicare plans as part of the Medicare Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO). BHN leaders are now focusing efforts on the true test of this model– whether it can be sustained and improved upon in coming years.

“We are very pleased by our first year results in Medicare’s Pioneer Accountable Care Organization,” said Tricia Nguyen, Chief Medical Officer for Banner Health Network. “Our ability to deliver shared savings, in excess of $13 million, has been the result of more coordinated care by our providers, advanced population health technology and surrounding our most vulnerable and chronically ill beneficiaries with supportive case management.”

In the first year BHN also demonstrated an ability to reduce hospital admissions, hospital length of stay and the need for hospital readmissions by supporting beneficiaries when they are most at risk and in need of care and advocacy. BHN was a top performer in terms of shared savings compared to other Pioneer organizations nationally.

“Through our experience, we believe the value-based Pioneer ACO model has merit, and that it has the potential to diminish the predominance of fee-for-service plans in government and private sectors,” said Chuck Lehn, CEO for Banner Health Network. “It is the best solution at this time for creating sustainability for the Medicare program, and could be the basis for historic change in the U.S. healthcare industry.”

Banner Health Network will proceed with the Pioneer ACO program in Performance Year 2 (calendar year 2013) and has begun recruiting additional physicians for Performance Year 3 (calendar year 2014).

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), that operates the Pioneer program, reported that the results from the Pioneers overall were promising. “These results show that Pioneer ACOs have been successful in reducing costs for Medicare, improving the quality of care for their patients, and that incentives to align payment with quality can work.”

In December 2011, Banner Health Network announced that it had been selected as one of only 32 organizations in the country to demonstrate the Pioneer ACO Model.  The central premise of the Pioneer ACO effort is to create value through a highly coordinated, collaborative network of providers who are focused on achieving the highest level of wellness possible for their Medicare patients.

The financial incentive for Pioneer physician providers is to have improved financial benefit through shared savings, not increased volume of services that are reimbursed in a traditional fee-for-service model. Provider revenues are generated through a percentage of Medicare savings. Further, if provider expenses are greater than available Medicare funding, the individual ACO is at risk for that loss.

In addition to participating in the Medicare Pioneer ACO, BHN has developed accountable care relationships with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Aetna, Health Net, United Healthcare and Cigna in the last 18 months.

BHN is comprised of Banner Health employed physicians and Banner affiliated physicians; 13 Banner hospitals (12 in the Phoenix metro area); Banner Health Centers and Clinics; and other Banner services in Arizona. The Network ensures convenient access to Medicare members with more than 2,600 physicians located throughout Maricopa County and into Pinal County.

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Enterprise’s Barry joins AzBA board

The Arizona Bankers Association today announced Jack Barry, chairman of Enterprise Bank & Trust’s Arizona region, was recently elected to the association’s board of directors.

“Jack is well-respected for his leadership at Enterprise as well as for his long-standing commitment to the Phoenix community,” said Lynne Herndon, AzBA board chairman. “We are delighted to welcome him to the board as we continue to expand the scope and reach of AzBA, the voice of Arizona’s banking industry for more than 100 years.”

Barry joined Enterprise in 2008 as President of the Bank’s Arizona Region. Previously, he served as Executive Vice President and Market Leader for the former M&I Bank in Phoenix, where he was responsible for all commercial banking operations in the Phoenix area. He has also held senior management positions at the former Southwest Bank in Arizona and Mark Twain Bancshares in St. Louis, Missouri.

Barry earned a BS from the University of Missouri and holds a Certificate of Accountancy from the State of Missouri. He is past President of the Arizona Chapter of the RMA, is a former director of the Arizona Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth, is on the board of the Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Phoenix and is vice president of Phoenix Country Club.

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Brookfield Communities Partners With Keller Williams

Brookfield Communities has partnered with Keller Williams – the largest residential brokerage firm in the U.S. – to market and sell homes at its Fox Creek  master-plan development in Bullhead City.

The partnership, finalized last week, will give Fox Creek significant growth opportunities, said Brookfield Communities founder and president, Phil Petersen.

“This is a strategic and important move for Brookfield Communities,” said Petersen, who started Fox Creek nearly 20 years ago and continues to grow the community. “We are excited to partner with the experienced Keller Williams team.”

More than 40 realtors from Keller Williams have already begun marketing homes at Fox Creek. Leading the marketing efforts for Richard Lerma and the Bullhead City Keller Williams office will be the husband and wife team, Chas and Jill Williams.

“This is like coming home for us since we started our careers at Fox Creek nearly 10 years ago,” said Chas Williams, who lives in Fox Creek.

Petersen said the timing of the partnership was optimal since the residential market has been steadily improving. Since opening a new model home complex earlier this year, Fox Creek has seen record traffic. Brookfield Communities also recently added an additional 173 acres of land to its existing 750-acre Fox Creek development.

“The alliance with Keller Williams opens the door to an entire nation of prospective buyers,” said Lerma, operating principal for Keller Williams and its Bullhead City office. “Home values are up across the board and those who have been waiting on the sidelines are now looking to buy.”

Lerma’s team generated more than $78 million in revenues last year and is on track to surpass $100 million this year. While 40 agents will initially work on the Fox Creek team, additional team members may be added as demand dictates, Lerma said.

In addition, Fox Creek now becomes an integral part of Keller Williams Internet marketing programs, further showcasing the community to a broad array of audiences.

For additional information, visit www.brookfieldcommunities.com or call (928) 704-0525.

Banner Goldfield Medical Center is newest Banner hospital

Banner Health has selected Banner Goldfield Medical Center as the name for its newest facility, reflecting the community’s top naming choice, as well as the natural and majestic environment provided by the Goldfield Mountains, located near the medical center.

The Banner Goldfield name replaces the name of Arizona Regional Medical Center, which will join Banner Health on May 15. The 30-bed hospital will serve as a gateway to Banner’s array of specialized services in the East Valley.

“The Banner Goldfield name was chosen for many factors including community preference, meaning and distinctiveness,” said Julie Nunley, CEO of Banner Ironwood (and Banner Goldfield, beginning May 15). “The Goldfield Mountains are a beautiful backdrop to the newest addition to the Banner family.”

To ensure the smoothest transition possible, Banner Goldfield will temporarily close beginning May 15, but will begin providing patient care again Friday, June 14.

This transition period will provide the time necessary to implement the many systems and practices that are the foundation of Banner Health’s standing as a top health system in the nation for clinical care. The time will also be used to install new technology and equipment and train staff.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Banner Health is one of the largest, nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system manages 23 acute-care hospitals, the Banner Health Network and Banner Medical Group, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services including family clinics, home care and hospice services and a nursing registry. Banner Health is in seven states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit www.BannerHealth.com.

prevention trial - brain scan images

TGen scientist launches innovative online research project

A scientific researcher at Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) has launched a first-of-its-kind online memory test to help better understand human cognition and how it might relate to Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders.

Dubbed “MindCrowd”, the study seeks to attract 1 million individuals, aged 18 to 80, willing to complete the 10-minute online memory test at mindcrowd.org. Researchers will use the test results to build a base of data for further study on how cognition and memory changes as people age.

Eventually, the researchers want to leverage this newly-gained biological insight into therapeutic application — treatment. The hope is for the online test to go viral with friends, families and colleagues challenging one another to take the test and compare the results.

MindCrowd is the brainchild of TGen Associate Professor Dr. Matt Huentelman who believes understanding how the brain works in healthy individuals will foster the development of new medicines and therapies for those with brain disorders. Dr. Huentelman’s TGen lab studies the genomics of human neurological traits and diseases with a specific focus on learning, memory and Alzheimer’s.

“MindCrowd is the first research project of its kind,” said Huentelman, an expert in genomics as it relates to memory. “By harnessing the power of the Internet, we can study a million – or more – individuals to help bring us closer to a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders. Combining our knowledge of human genetics and neuroscience with an online research study like MindCrowd is a revolutionary approach to understanding our differences in brain performance and how it may influence risk for disease. We expect to add significantly to our understanding of cognition and how genetic factors impact our memory as we age.”

The MindCrowd project has two phases: Phase I involves memory testing of 1 million or more study participants. Following an in-depth analysis of Phase I test results, researchers will then solicit a subset of Phase I participants willing to donate a DNA saliva sample and undergo an additional round of online testing.

Participation is encouraged from a broad range of ages, backgrounds and cognitive abilities. Those taking the test are free to remain anonymous, although it is encouraged that people share basic data to help the project succeed. The test does not predict or diagnose any condition, rather it provides data on one type of memory and how these processes change as people age and have varied life experiences.

MindCrowd is a collaborative effort among leading scientific research institutions and organizations including TGen, the University of Arizona, Banner Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative and others.

Visit www.mindcrowd.org to take the test.

Curis Resources - Florence Copper Project

MJ Insurance Expands Metals Group to Phoenix

MJ Insurance, a leading property-casualty and employee benefits agency headquartered in Indianapolis, is expanding its successful  Metals Group to its Phoenix office.

For more than 20 years, MJ Insurance has represented metals and metal-related companies including manufacturers, processors, scrap metal dealers and all other companies using metals with their risk management programs from its Indianapolis office. The private insurance agency is now expanding its reach by extending the service line in its Phoenix office for clients across the West.

“We are intrigued to see where this expansion takes MJ Insurance,” said Michael H. Bill, CEO of MJ Insurance. “Our Metals Group has seen significant growth in the last few years in line with new environmental policies and our team has remained on the front line of the risk inherent to the industry. We are excited to now expand these services and see how it benefits the industry in the West.”

MJ Insurance’s Metals Group helps clients identify and cover unique exposures by designing risk management programs specifically tailored to them. The team focuses exclusively on the metals industry, allowing them to offer the utmost individualized service and programs available while being resourceful to meet each specific company’s needs with safety and environmental consulting.

The metals group currently serves clients in the Midwest throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois and Missouri. With the expansion, the company looks to serve Nevada, Arizona, Utah, California and Colorado businesses, while expanding its reach in the already successful market in Mexico.

Specialty coverage and options include captive alternatives, ocean cargo, foreign travel, Mexico transit, environmental liability and trade credit, among others.

MJ Insurance also has an online Risk Management Center that enables clients to easily manage various insurance, risk management and OSHA compliance responsibilities while also offering access to online safety tools.

The company is an active member in several metals, manufacturing and recycling trade associations, further showcasing their commitment and knowledge of the industry.

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Banner Baywood earns certification

Banner Baywood Medical Center is the first hospital in Arizona to earn certification for Disease-Specific Care in hip fracture management and one of 15 nationwide to receive this distinction. The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™ was awarded to Banner Baywood for its compliance with the organization’s national standards for healthcare quality and safety in disease-specific care.

Many older adults are prone to falls that result in hip fractures, which can lead to functional decline, illness, and death. With the population aging and the incidence of hip fractures increasing, Banner Baywood started seeking certification two years ago to better serve this population and recently underwent a rigorous onsite survey. According to the Joint Commission, a certified facility must provide continuous safe, high quality care, treatment and services by identifying opportunities for improvement processes.

“This achievement is the culmination of an incredible journey and months of hard work on behalf of our patients,” said Laura Robertson, CEO of Banner Baywood Medical Center. “Gaining certification highlights our multidisciplinary approach to standardization of care, greater efficiency and, ultimately, better outcomes for the hip fracture population that we serve.”

The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 18,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. It’s one of the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. The organization’s Disease-Specific Care Certification Program is designed to evaluate clinical programs across the continuum of care.

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Most Banner employees comply with ‘No Flu For You’ policy

A remarkable nearly 100 percent of Banner Health’s approximately 36,000 employees have complied with the company’s No Flu For You policy. This commitment by Banner employees, to decrease the risk of flu infections among fellow employees and patients, is especially timely as the Centers for Disease Control is predicting an early start to a potentially heavy and deadly flu season.

All employees and volunteers were required to receive the flu vaccine, which was offered at no cost. Those unable to receive the vaccination because of medical or religious reasons were able to receive an exemption but must wear masks during the flu season.

“Patients and families who turn to Banner Health can be assured that our employees have taken the necessary steps to ensure their safety and prevent the spread of the flu,” said Dr. Marjorie Bessel, M.D., chief medical officer for Banner’s Arizona East Region.

This policy is in place at all of Banner’s facilities including all of its acute-care hospitals and other healthcare facilities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. At least 11 states, including Colorado, have regulations enacted regarding influenza immunization of healthcare workers, either requiring immunization or signed declinations for medical, religious or philosophical reasons.

Banner continues to work with less than five employees who are not in compliance to ensure their return to the workplace. None of these employees are currently working at Banner facilities, so patients and their families can be assured Banner is doing its very best to protect everyone during the flu season.

The flu is a contagious and deadly disease, contributing to more than 36,000 preventable deaths annually in the U.S. Vaccination is a very effective way to prevent it. According for the Centers of Disease Control, flu vaccination of health care workers have been shown to help prevent death in patients, as well as reduce the influenza infection.

The flu shot that’s given to all health care workers and the general public this year protects against two strains of influenza A and influenza B virus. This year, shots became available in September since flu season typically begins in October with spikes in January and February. The vaccine protects for about one year.

About Banner Health
Headquartered in Phoenix, Banner Health is one of the largest, nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system owns or manages 23 acute-care hospitals, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services including physician clinics and home care and hospice services. Banner Health is in seven states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming.

healthcare

East Valley Pediatrics joins Banner Medical Group

Banner Health announced that East Valley Pediatrics, with 18 physicians and three nurse practitioners serving patients in 11 east Valley locations, has joined Banner Medical Group (BMG). BMG, a part of Banner Health, will continue operating these East Valley Pediatric clinics in Apache Junction, Casa Grande, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa and Queen Creek. Two sites in Mesa and Gilbert will continue to provide after-hours services, as well.

“We are excited and honored that this high quality physician organization is joining Banner Medical Group,” said BMG CEO Jim Brannon. “East Valley Pediatrics has been serving families with outstanding care since 1998, and it’s our privilege to help continue this legacy of excellence.”

In addition to the 18 pediatricians and three nurse practitioners, 75 other health professionals will transition into BMG. The complete transition of East Valley Pediatrics into BMG is anticipated to be complete by Feb. 1, 2013.

“This is a wonderful complement to our overall development of Banner Children’s services,” said Brannon. “These services are across the Valley and include both outpatient settings like these clinics and inpatient facilities like Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa and the Banner Thunderbird Children’s Center in Glendale,” Brannon added.

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Banner honors Employees for Community Service

Banner Health has recognized five outstanding employees with a Paul L. Singer Award, an award that honors those who not only make a difference in people’s lives through excellent patient care, but through extraordinary volunteer work and community service.

Now in its 25th year, the Singer Awards honors Banner Health employees and their impressive community service activities. The 2012 award honorees were recognized Thursday at an event that honored the 54 employee award nominees and the five outstanding individuals who were selected to receive a Singer Award. The five winners received a certificate and trophy as well as a monetary donation toward a charity of their choosing.

The 2012 Singer Award recipients include:

Rosinja de Gorostiza (Banner Baywood Medical Center)

Community service: Bay Area Camarines Norte Association

Muriel Kremb (Banner Estrella Medical Center)

Community service: Arizona Game and Fish, Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center

James Nimos (Banner Sun Health Research Institute)

Community service: New Song Center for Grieving Children

Kimberly Reiners (Cardon Children’s Medical Center)

Community service: Camp Soaring Eagle and Asthma Athletics

Kenneth Wutoh (Page Hospital)

Community service: Stepping with Faith Rehab and Missahoe Orphanage in Ghana

The Singer Awards are named after the late Paul L. Singer, MD, a former chief of staff at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix who exemplified a commitment to community service. Banner encourages employees to take its nonprofit mission of making a difference in people’s lives through excellent patient care beyond the hospital and into their communities.

Banner Health is one of the largest, nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system owns or manages 23 acute-care hospitals, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services including physician clinics and home care and hospice services. Banner Health is in seven states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming.

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Greenberg Traurig Named to ‘The BTI Client Service 30′

Greenberg Traurig Named to ‘The BTI Client Service 30′

PHOENIX (December 3, 2012) – International law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP has announced that the firm has been ranked in the BTI Client Service A-Team 2013 report. The firm joins “The BTI Client Service 30,” a list which makes up the 30 law firms who “perform five to 15 times better” out of the report’s 650 law firms serving large clients, according to its publisher, The BTI Consulting Group (Wellesley, MA).

“Our team in Phoenix prides itself on superior client service and this recognition is proof that our efforts have not gone unnoticed,” said John E. Cummerford, Greenberg Traurig’s managing shareholder in Phoenix. “We are proud to be included in this impressive, unbiased ranking.”

“Excellence in client service is at the core of who we are as a firm. We are humbled by our inclusion in BTI’s elite group of 30 law firms most recognized for such service,” said Richard A. Rosenbaum, Greenberg Traurig’s Chief Executive Officer. “We will continue our commitment to client satisfaction and keeping the Greenberg Traurig name synonymous with unparalleled legal counsel. Our passion for the delivery of high quality legal services and real value has been the root of our ability to grow into a global leader while maintaining our relationships with clients throughout the U.S. A hearty thank you goes to those who believe and trust in us as clients and as legal professionals.”

The report ranks firms solely on objective, unbiased client feedback from more than 300 in-depth interviews with corporate counsel. According to BTI, “no law firms influence the results, submit nominations or provide client names. The research is independent and unbiased. The client—the most important judge of client service—solely decides which law firms are best at the 17 activities driving superior client relationships.”

Published in the report is following commentary from BTI: Greenberg Traurig’s commitment to client service led to honors in all 17 activities driving client relationships. What Corporate Counsel Say: Clients praise the quality of services offered by Greenberg Traurig, along with their focus on “getting to know our business.” Clients appreciate the firm’s “Willingness to partner with them to reduce outside legal cost,” and their “focus on making themselves cost effective.” Greenberg Traurig also receives praise for their global reach, with clients noting, “They can cover unusual physical locations.”

The firm is noted for appearing on the following lists in the report: Honor Roll of the Best; Anticipates the Client’s Needs; Breadth of Services; Brings Together National Resources; Client Focus; Commitment to Help; Deals with Unexpected Changes; Handles Problems; Helps Advise on Business Issues; Innovative Approach; Keeps Clients Informed; Legal Skills; Meets Core Scope; Provides Value for the Dollar; Quality Products; Regional Reputation; Understands the Client’s Business; and Unprompted Communication.

healthcare

Page Hospital receives recognition for National Rural Health Day

Banner Health’s Page Hospital has been recognized by a health analytics company for excellence in quality, patient satisfaction and efficiency as part of National Rural Health Day celebrated in November.

The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health established Nov. 15 as National Rural Health Day.

Leaders from across the country met to celebrate accomplishments that have been achieved in rural health and acknowledge challenges and the necessary initiative needed to overcome and adapt to the changing healthcare landscape.

Ivantage Health Analytics offers a data-driven program recognizing excellence in multiple areas of patient care and quality performance.

Hospitals must be in the top quartile to receive this recognition. Page Hospital was among those recognized in Arizona for excellence in quality, patient satisfaction and efficiency.

Page Hospital is a 25-bed critical access hospital that serves Northern Arizona. Built in 1958, the hospital provides a range of medical services that include Emergency Services, Surgery, Medical Imaging, Obstetrics, Cardiopulmonary, Acute Care and Rehabilitation. It is part of Banner Health, a nonprofit hospital and health care system that covers seven states and is based in Phoenix, Ariz.