Welcome to the Sept. 17 Monday Business Briefing, your weekly business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.
J.D. Power ranks Humana mail-order pharmacy No. 1
Humana’s pharmacy division has been named the top U.S. Mail Order pharmacy, according to a customer satisfaction survey by J.D. Power.
Insider recently toured one of the industrial-sized pharmacies in Ohio and learned that the insurer runs the facilities to gain better control over the accuracy with which medications are dispensed and over the consistency with which patients take those medications.
Building and running the facilities is expensive; Humana spent $23.4 million to build the Ohio facility about a decade ago and, at the time, paid 335 employees a combined annual salary of $18.5 million, and it upgraded the facility last year. But the costs pale in comparison to the health care expenditures Humana can save if patients stay healthier, in part because they adhere to their medication regimen.
“If we can ensure our consumers are getting their medication without any challenges, we’ve removed one more barrier to them taking that medication,” Labeed Diab, president of Humana Pharmacy Solutions, said in a news release.
After Insider’s story on Humana’s pharmacy was published, one of Humana’s customers emailed us to express gratitude for the insurer’s work.
“As a cancer patient who needs Revlimid every day, I have been impressed and thankful for the caring and professional folks at Humana Specialty Pharmacy,” he wrote.
Customers in the J.D. Power survey gave Humana the highest scores for prescription ordering and filling process, cost competitiveness and prescription delivery. On a 1,000 point scale, Humana’s pharmacy got an 885 this year, the highest among its competitors, which included major chain drugstores, supermarkets and other mail order pharmacies. —Boris Ladwig
Frontier announces new nonstop flight out of Louisville
Discount airline company Frontier Airlines is adding to its third nonstop flight out of Louisville International Airport.
Frontier announced Friday that it plans to offer seasonal service to Orlando International Airport starting Nov. 15, just in time for snowbird season. Flights will take off and land on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Tickets are on sale now through Sunday, April 28.
“Orlando is one of the top destinations for area travelers, and this provides another competitive option for them to reach one of their favorite places,” Dan Mann, executive director of the Louisville Regional Airport Authority said in a news release.
Spalding University names new dean, board chair
Multiple top leadership positions at Spalding University have new holders, the school announced Thursday.
Tomarra Adams is the new dean of undergraduate education, according to a news release, and James Rissler is the new board of trustees chairman.
Adams previously worked at the University of Louisville as director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Pan-African Studies and as an assistant dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. She began Aug. 1.
“My passion has been to create space for students to be successful and be their advocate within higher education,” Adams said in the release. “I have facilitated this passion through the lenses of Pan-African studies and social work — meeting students where they are while being committed to social justice and social responsibility.”
Rissler, president and CEO of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Investment and Loan Program, has been a Spalding trustee since 2012, the release said. He’ll be the chair for a two-year term.
RiverLink introduces new way to pay
For those who want to eliminate toll debt off their books but don’t want to wait for an invoice, RiverLink, the tolling system for three of the Ohio River bridges, has added a faster way to pay.
“During our first year of tolling, we heard from many drivers who didn’t want to wait for an invoice in order to pay their tolls online,” Megan McLain, innovative finance manager with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, said in a news release. “Pay by plate gives customers an option to quickly and easily pay tolls owed soon after crossing the bridges.”
Now, those who cross the bridge can search for their invoice online by entering their license plate number, state and the six digits of the vehicle identification number on RiverLink’s website. Any tolls owed will pop up allowing drivers to pay them off quickly.
Allow three to five days after crossing a tolled bridge for the trip to post to the system. It may take longer for out-of-state drivers. If the trip has not posted, drivers can enter their cellphone number or email address and will be notified when it posts. —Caitlin Bowling
UofL announces Alumna of the Year
The leader of a prominent medical research institute is the University of Louisville’s 2018 Alumna of the Year, the school announced Wednesday.
Penny Heaton, the chief executive of the Bill and Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute, is receiving the university’s top alumni honor. She graduated from UofL’s College of Arts and Sciences, its medical school and completed her medical residency at the school.
Heaton is the first woman to receive the award since 2013 and the fifth since the award’s creation in 1983.
“The University of Louisville helped turn a young woman’s passion for science into a career focused on reducing global health inequities,” Heaton said in a news release. “It’s truly an honor to receive the Alumna of the Year award from my alma mater. I’m grateful for my time at this incredible institution, and I’m proud to be recognized alongside such an impressive group of Alumni Fellows.”
Heaton helps the Bill and Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute develop medicines for some of the world’s poorest populations, the release said. Before, she worked in medical research with a focus on vaccines.
Another 13 alumni will be honored in addition to Heaton — one for each UofL school and college, plus ones representing University Libraries and student affairs.
“This year’s alumni awardees are true examples of leadership and excellence both at UofL and in their respective fields,” Josh Hawkins, assistant vice president of alumni relations and annual giving, said in the release.
Maker’s Mark will release a special bottle honoring Justify
Maker’s Mark will release a commemorative bottle honoring Justify in October, and proceeds benefit both the Kentucky Derby Museum and a research fund for Parkinson’s disease, a cause the WinStar Farm team champions.
The bottle is black, with green wax and a white strip, to highlight the colors of Justify’s green, white and black jockey silks worn in the Kentucky Derby by Mike Smith. The 1-liter will retail for a suggested price of $59.99, and a release date has not yet been set.
“Maker’s Mark has always had a strong connection with horse racing,” Rob Samuels, chief operating officer of Maker’s, said in a news release. “Without the support of the thoroughbred industry in the early days when my grandparents created our bourbon, Maker’s Mark simply wouldn’t exist. We’re honored to help grow the sport we love while also commemorating a remarkable achievement in sports history.”
Jim Beam releases Repeal Batch to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the end of Prohibition
And in other new bottle news, Jim Beam has come out with a Repeal Batch that honors the 85th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. While that significant date happened on Dec. 5, 1933, Beam thought they’d get this one out early to also celebrate National Bourbon Month.
The limited-time offering is now on shelves.
The bourbon is bottled at 86 proof and is non-chill filtered, giving it a more robust, flavorful punch.
Many distillers, including Beam, chill filter their bourbon after it comes out of the barrel to remove fatty acids so that it remains clear and consistent while on the shelf. A non-chill filtered bourbon will sometimes get a little cloudy, especially if put in the freezer.
Some bourbon purists prefer the raw, non-chill filtered juice, saying it offers a fuller taste and mouthfeel.
Insider received a sample of the Repeal Batch and can attest to the fuller taste and thicker-feeling bourbon. For being only 86 proof, this stuff is spicy right from the get-go and seems to be more rich and flavorful. Even the color is a little darker than regular Jim Beam.
FirstBuild to open location in India
FirstBuild, which fosters creativity and innovation through an online community and a workshop near the University of Louisville campus, expects to open its center in Hyderabad in central India in early 2019, according to a news release.
Through its Louisville and Shanghai locations, FirstBuild has engaged tens of thousands of online community members to come up with ideas for products such as a nugget ice maker, an induction cooktop and a talking laundry module, which allows people with visual impairments to get audio feedback from their washers and dryers.
“The new creative center is one of a kind in the Hyderabad region, where budding creators will find an open community focused on building a new generation of appliances that transform the home,” GEA Chief Operating Officer Melanie Cook said.
Chandramouli Vijjhala, chief information officer for GEA in India, said he is eager to find out what innovative ideas the community will generate.
“What’s exciting about FirstBuild is the community decides what it wants to make, and it can be anything that creates value for the owner,” said Vijjhala, who will oversee the new center. —Boris Ladwig
Gov. Matt Bevin named Jefferson County Public Schools school board candidate Judith Bradley to the Employment First Council to represent family members with a disability. Bradley is the executive director of JackBeNimble, a nonprofit focused on re-imagining special education.
Jodell Renn is JCPS’s new internal auditor. Renn began Sept. 10, according to a district spokeswoman.