Page 1


The State of NWI



Diamond, Fesko and McFadden Present and Future



Leadership, Physicians, Communications and Caring

from a Doctor’s Perspective



Balancing Community Concerns and Patient Privacy FALL 2009 PRESORTED STANDARD U.S. POSTAGE PAID ST. JOSEPH, MI PERMIT #65


TimesIN_BusMag_RegHG:Layout 1 10/29/09 10:48 AM Page 1

special advertising section

Sisters of St. Francis Health Services Northern Indiana Region

Leading the Way with Distinction

Saint Anthony Medical Center, Crown Point • Five-Star Rated for Treatment of Stroke – Eight Years in a Row (2003-2010) • Five-Star Rated for Hip Fracture Repair – Three Years in a Row (2008-2010) • Ranked among the Top 5 in Indiana for Overall Orthopedic Services – 2010 • Recipient of the 2009 HealthGrades Patient Safety Excellence AwardTM • Ranked among the Top 5% in the Nation for Patient Safety – 2009 Saint Margaret Mercy Healthcare Centers, Hammond • Best in Gary, IN Region* and Only Specialty Excellence Award Recipient for Cardiac Surgery 2010 • Recipient of the 2010 HealthGrades Cardiac Surgery Excellence AwardTM • Ranked Among the Top 10% in the Nation for Cardiac Surgery – 2010 • Ranked Among the Top 10 in IN for Overall Cardiac Services – Two Years in a Row (2009-2010) • Ranked Among the Top 5 in IN for Cardiac Surgery - 2010 • Recipient of the 2009/10 HealthGrades Women’s Health Excellence Award™ – recognizing excellence in vascular, cardiovascular, orthopedic, stroke and pulmonary care for women • Ranked Among the Top 5% in the Nation for Women’s Health – 2009/10 • Five-Star Rated for Women’s Health – 2009/10 Dyer and Hammond • Recipient of the

Among the Top 10% in the Nation for

HealthGrades Pulmonary Care Excellence

Overall Pulmonary Services – Two Years in

Award™ – Two Years in a Row (2009-2010)

a Row (2009-2010) • Ranked Among the

• Ranked Among the Top 10% in the

Top 10 in IN for Overall Pulmonary

Nation for Overall Pulmonary Services -

Services – Two Years in a Row (2009-2010)

Two Years in a Row (2009-2010) • Ranked Among the Top 10 in IN for Overall Pulmonary Services – Two Years in a Row (2009-2010) • Dyer Campus • Ranked Among the Top 10 in IN for Cardiology Services – 2010 • Five-Star Rated for Treatment of Heart Failure – Four Years in a Row (2007-2010) • Received the Highest Possible Star Ratings for Treatment of Heart Failure – Three Years in a Row (2008-2010) • Ranked Among the Top 15% in the Nation for Treatment of Heart Failure – Three Years in a Row (2007-2009) • Ranked

A Driving Force

• Five-Star Rated for Overall Pulmonary

With five hospital campuses, 47 affiliated clinic locations, over 1,050 physicians and 5,900 employees, the Northern Indiana Region hospitals of the Sisters of St. Francis are a driving force in healthcare today. Our hospitals are not only highly ranked by national ratings experts, but they provide compassionate care guided by principle and mission. In 2008, we provided over $142,650,000 in community benefits and will continue to work with all the communities we serve with purpose and superior care.

• Five-Star Rated for Treatment of

Services – Two Years in a Row (2009-2010) Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – Four Years in a Row (2007-2010) • Five-Star Rated for Treatment of Pneumonia – Two Years in a Row (2009-2010) • Five-Star Rated for Hip Fracture Repair – Two Years in a Row (2008-2009) • Ranked Among the Top 15% in the Nation for Hip Fracture Repair – Two Years in a Row (2008-2009) • Ranked Among the Top 10 in IN for Spine Surgery – 2009 • Hammond Campus

Among the Top 10 in IN for Overall Cardiac

• Ranked Among the Top 5 in IN for

Services – 2009 • Ranked Among the Top 10

Cardiac Surgery – 2010 • Five-Star Rated

in IN for Cardiac Surgery – 2009 • Ranked

for Coronary Bypass Surgery – 2010

• Five-Star Rated for Treatment of Heart Failure – Three Years in a Row (2008-2010) • Received the Highest Possible Star Ratings for Treatment of Heart Failure – Three Years in a Row (2008-2010) • Ranked Among the Top 10 in IN for Cardiology Services – 2009 • Five-Star Rated for Hip Fracture Repair – Five Years in a Row (2006-2010) • Ranked Among the Top 15% in the Nation for Hip Fracture Repair – Four Years in a Row (2006-2009) • Recipient of the HealtGrades Pulmonary Care Excellence Award™ – Two Years in a Row (2009-2010) • Ranked Among the Top 5% in the Nation for Overall Pulmonary Services – 2010 • Ranked Among the Top 5 in IN for Overall Pulmonary Services – 2010 • Five-Star Rated for Overall Pulmonary Services – Two Years in a Row (2009-2010) • Five-Star Rated for Treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – Two Years in a Row (2009- 2010) • Five-Star Rated for Treatment of Pneumonia – Three Years in a Row (2008-2010) • Received the Highest Possible Star Ratings for Treatment of Pneumonia – 2010 • Saint Anthony Memorial, Michigan City • Recipient of the 2010 HealthGrades Gastrointestinal Surgery Excellence Award™ • Only Recipient of the 2010 HealthGrades Gastrointestinal Surgery Excellence Award™ in the Region** • Ranked Among the Top 10% in the Nation for GI Surgery – 2010 • Ranked Among the Top 10 in IN for GI Services – 2010 • Ranked Among the Top 5 in IN for GI Surgery – 2010 • Five-Star Rated for GI Surgery – 2010 • Five-Star Rated for Cholecystectomy – 2010 Franciscan Physicians Hospital, Munster • Five-Star Rated for Treatment of Heart Failure – Two Years in a Row (2009-2010) * As defined by the federal government’s Office of Management and Budget.

**Region is Michigan City–LaPorte, IN as defined by the federal government’s Office of Management and Budget.

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>> contents

fall 2009

the state of health care in Northwest Indiana

5 6 8 10


BUSINESS ADVISORY BOARD Dan Nita, Horseshoe Casino pUBlIShER NOtES by Publisher Bill Masterson Jr. BY thE NUmBERS Statistics Concerning the Region’s Economy COVER StORY the State of health Care in Northwest Indiana 10 Three Hospital CEOs on the State of Health Care in NWI by Sarah Tompkins 12 Physicians’ Perspectives on Universal Health Care by Lu Ann Franklin 14 Health Care Communications Specialists Balance Patient Protection and Community Concern by Lu Ann Franklin 16 H1N1 - The View on the Ground by Sarah Tompkins


SAlUtE Promotions and Accomplishments of Local Business People


OUR tURN The Case for Tort Reform by W. Patrick Downes, Nicholas K. Lagina and Carrie L. Flores


hElpING hAND Innovative Marketing Helps Fund Health-Related Research by Karen M. Lauerman


NEW FUtURES A New Blueprint for Health and Treatment in the U.S. by Daniel Dumezich


mY BUSINESS Simulators in Healthcare Education Ease Anxiety for Students by Bill Thon

BIZ BUZZ Updates on Area Businesses cover photograph by ROBERT WRAy



>> business advisory board

Nita new representative on board

Dan Nita, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, has joined the BusINess Advisory Board. Great access to the city of Chicago, a great Northwest Indiana community to raise his children in and a strong team at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond are the three big

reasons that Nita is happy to be in his new role. Nita is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the most successful casino along Lake Michigan and the long-term strategic growth of the $500 million property. “Now happens to be a pretty good time to be here (in Hammond),” Nita says. “We have tried a lot of different things (at The Venue) and we have to figure out what’s successful and how do we take those things that have been most successful and broaden our reach.” People are enjoying Horseshoe’s recent invention of touchdown Sunday, he says. “The ability to watch the Bears play and have a drink or play Blackjack, it is just a

lot of fun. We just finished a 10-day World Series of Poker tournament and we beat last year’s results by about 20 percent.” Nita says that there are a lot of similarities with Northwest Indiana Harrah’s (Horseshoe’s parent company) and New Orleans where he led the team from 2003-2005, initially as Vice President and Assistant General Manager and subsequently as Senior Vice President and General Manager. “I’ve been to most of the major casinos across the country, and this is on par with the best casinos in the world,” Nita says. Nita left New Orleans in late 2005 to lead the team at Caesars Atlantic City Hotel and Casino. In a similar role

to his job in Hammond, Nita headed the revitalization efforts of the property, including a multi-million dollar master plan to significantly enhance the hotel, casino and restaurant operations. Nita has been active in his respective communities. He served on the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, particularly involved in the Boardwalk redevelopment efforts. In New Orleans, he was a board member of the Louisiana Children’s Museum and a member of the Fore! Kids Foundation, the nonprofit that put on the annual PGA Tour event. Nita is in the process of relocating to Lake County, Indiana with his wife and two daughters.



>> publisher’s letter


S e rv i n g n o rt h w e S t i n d i a n a & C h i C ag o l a n d

Working as teams to take care of others who can’t take care of themselves


just left a summit meeting of Lake County hospitals CEOs where Ian McFadden of Methodist Hospitals, Donald Fesko of Community Hospital and Gene Diamond of Sisters of St. Francis Health Services, Inc., had a real world discussion about not only what’s happening on the front lines right now, but also about their genuine concerns regarding what the future of our system in Northwest Indiana looks like to them. These professionals may be competitors but it certainly didn’t seem that way from the conversation. There are plenty of patients and future clients out there needing quality care; the challenges and opportunities are getting it right 24/7. And right means many things to different people. Being able to keep dozens of trained specialists available in areas where the needs are great, being able to get the full benefit of technological advancements and having the educational system’s support to help fill the pipeline with qualified caregivers now and in the future. The big takeaway from our meeting is the same as the theme of this issue: there are no small issues in health care. Our discussion began with a shortage of H1N1 vaccine (the boat has sailed) and concerns about a shortage of Tamiflu for treatment of an ongoing epidemic. We moved quickly into the proactivity and collegial planning surrounding standardization of codes and records to keep patients safe. This includes, of course, patient involvement in asking questions and an active approach to helping care for themselves. But the most intense area of discussion was the population shift and the potential shortage of physicians, nurses and other highly skilled and professional health care providers. Yes, it’s true, as Gene Diamond says, that the level and quality of treatment, facilities and technology is excellent and unprecedented at this time, but the future from some logical points of view is still frightening. I was somewhat reassured about our position in Northwest Indiana in relation to our health care institutions. Here in the Region we have grown in innovative ways, especially in the last 10 years, and we have been quite effective with creative approaches to complex questions. It is people like these CEOs and their very dedicated staffs which keep us moving forward, because despite difficulties and challenges, they care about us and each other. We will be meeting with the CEOs in Porter and LaPorte County in first quarter 2010. Until then,

FALL 2009

VOLUME 6 ISSUE 5 Publisher Bill Masterson Jr. Founding Editor Bill Nangle

Associate Publisher/Editor Pat Colander Director of Product Development Chris Loretto Associate Editors Crista Zivanovic Julia Perla Matt Saltanovitz Creative Director Joe Durk Art Director Matt Huss Contributing Writers Heather Augustyn Ed Charbonneau Wil Davis Dan Dumezich Lu Ann Franklin Rick Mazer Bill Thon Contributing Photographers Robert Wray Natalie Battaglia Advertising Director Lisa M. Daugherty Online Account Executive Craig Chism Advertising Managers Deb Anselm Frank Perea Jeffrey Precourt BusinEss ADvisOry BOArD Ron Bush DRD Wil Davis Gary Jet Center Dan Dumezich Mayer, Brown, Rowe and Maw LLP Vince Galbiati Northwest Indiana Forum Barb Greene Franciscan Physician Hospital Karen M. Lauerman Northwest Indiana Forum Terri G. Martin Gary Community Health Foundation Inc. Dan Nita Horseshoe Casino Stephan K. Munsey Family Christian Center

B Il l m A St E RSO N J R . p U B lI S hER , B U S INES S WE WANt YOUR FEEDBACK. E-mail me at or write to me at: BusINess Magazine, The Times, 601 W. 45th Ave., Munster, IN 46321

Colleen Reilly NiSource Bert Scott Indiana University Northwest Bill Thon Ivy Tech State College Copyright, Northwest Indiana/Chicagoland BusINess, 2009. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial or graphic content without permission is prohibited.



>> by the numbers

Employment lake County

la porte County

Cook County


September 2008 Labor Force: 227,498 Employed: 213,965 Unemployed: 13,533 Rate: 5.9 percent

September 2008 Labor Force: 52,507 Employed: 49,549 Unemployed: 2,958 Rate: 5.6 percent

September 2008 Labor Force: 2,616,756x Employed: 2,443,775 Unemployed: 172,981 Rate: 6.6 percent

September 2008 Labor Force: 6,658,000 Employed: 6,230,500 Unemployed: 427,400 Rate: 6.4 percent

porter County


Will County

SOURCES: Indiana Department of Workforce Development/Illinois Department of Employment Security

September 2008 Labor Force: 83,425 Employed: 79,725 Unemployed: 3,700 Rate: 4.4 percent

September 2008 Labor Force: 3,226,796 Employed: 3,039,454 Unemployed: 187,342 Rate: 5.8 percent

September 2008 Labor Force: 359,916 Employed: 339,340 Unemployed: 20,576 Rate: 5.7 percent

September 2009 Labor Force: 225,605 Employed: 204,316 Unemployed: 21,289 Rate: 9.4 percent

September 2009 Labor Force: 82,930 Employed: 76,129 Unemployed: 6,801 Rate: 8.2 percent

September 2009 Labor Force: 52,442 Employed: 46,828 Unemployed: 5,614 Rate: 10.7 percent

September 2009 Labor Force: 3,138,958 Employed: 2,851,238 Unemployed: 287,720 Rate: 9.2 percent

September 2009 Labor Force: 2,603,121 Employed: 2,328,248 Unemployed: 274,873 Rate: 10.6 percent

September 2009 Labor Force: 358,961 Employed: 323,298 Unemployed: 35,663 Rate: 9.9 percent

September 2009 Labor Force: 6,604,900 Employed: 5,930,200 Unemployed: 674,700 Rate: 10.2 percent

Health care employment Nationwide by industry segment, 2006 and projected change, 2006-16 (Employment in thousands)

Industry segment


2006-2016 percent change (projected)

Health services, total Hospitals, public and private Nursing and residential care facilities Offices of physicians Home health care services Offices of dentists Offices of other health practitioners Outpatient care centers Other ambulatory health care services Medical and diagnostic laboratories

13,621 5,438 2,901 2,154 867 784 571 489 216 202

21.7 13.0 23.7 24.8 55.4 22.4 28.3 24.3 32.3 16.8

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics



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>> cover story: the state of health care in NWI

Leaders share common concerns (left to right) Ian McFadden, CEO of Methodist Hospitals; Don Fesko, CEO of Community Hospital; and Gene Diamond, CEO, Northern Indiana Region, of Sisters of St. Francis Health Services discuss area health care at a summit sponsored by BusINess magazine.

Three hospital CEOs on the state of health care in NWI e By SaRaH tOMPKinS

“Everyone in the community needs to know folks just don’t get into health care unless they really care for people, and they don’t stay in health care unless they truly, deeply care for people” said Gene Diamond, regional CEO of Sisters of St. Francis Health Services (SSFHS). CEOs from Community Hospital, Methodist Hospitals, and Sisters of St. Francis Health Services sat down together and openly discussed a range of local issues – from H1N1 to physician shortages to patient safety. Patient Safety Patient safety was a unanimous concern. In a collaborative effort to improve it, Community Healthcare System, The Methodist Hospitals, Porter Health and SSFHS formed the Northwest Indiana Patient Safety Coalition last July. The hospitals work together to increase communication and instate uniform procedures that increase the quality and efficiency of patient care. For example, the hospitals are making the colors of patient wristbands worn to identify conditions


consistent at all hospitals. “For workers and physicians who work in different facilities, they won’t have to wonder if blue (means something different) for this hospital,” said Don Fesko, CEO of Community Hospital. Uniformed coding for emergencies – such as Amber Alerts – is also in the works, Fesko said. “I think it would be easier if they make a standard protocol. It would be nice to have the same codes so when you hear them, you can take action at the hospitals.” Though the large-scale coordination between hospitals can be important, Diamond said the responsibility for patient safety ultimately relies on the people providing the medical care. “It really takes a great (medical) team to achieve better outcomes.” He added that buying and using the latest technologies can only take hospitals so far. “Hospitals are very dangerous places,” Diamond said. “Each of these hospital systems competes with each other, so we’ve taken intense internal actions to promote patient safety.” The SSFHS hospitals break down the patient care process and teach and review it


internally. “We want to make sure we repeat the good steps and avoid the bad steps,” he said, adding emphatically that everyone who works at the hospital wants to ensure that every patient is “aware of being loved.” At Methodist Hospitals, hand sanitizers have been placed throughout the facility to help prevent the spread of communicable diseases, said Ian McFadden, CEO of the hospital system. The hospital is working to improve its system of patient identification and medication distribution as well. It’s basically ensuring that the patient is getting the right medication at the right time,” McFadden said. Methodist Hospitals and the SSFHS hospitals have both tried to address the issue of long emergency room waits as well. “(The wait time) is not going to get any better under health care reform,” Diamond said. The SSFHS recently began stationing physicians at the front of their emergency rooms so patients can see a doctor right when they walk through the door. Diamond said an emergency room is like a welcome mat for the hospital – it creates a powerful

photograph by Robert Wray


ospital CEOs care about the quality of service their hospitals give to patients. Earlier this month, local hospital leaders told The Times’ BusINess and health care advisory boards that they are constantly striving to improve their medical centers. And they worry. A lot.

first impression. “(Patients) feel they’ve had a good experience by the time they get on the floor,” Diamond said. “The residue from that experience stays with them through their stay.” As a result, Diamond said St. Margaret Mercy hospital has seen its walkout rate drop from 10 percent to three percent after putting physicians near the entrance. “(Patients) can walk,” McFadden agreed. “They have other choices.” In the last few months, Methodist Hospitals has stationed about 10 greeters in its emergency room, outpatient surgery and other waiting areas to keep patients informed. “That way there’s someone for people to talk with, interact with and figure out what’s going on. Whether it’s (a greeter saying), ‘Now we’ve got x number of people back there, we’ll get you in (within) so many minutes,’” McFadden said. “If people know what’s going on, they won’t be out there stewing.” In the future, McFadden hopes to improve care by having a computerized system of medical records. “Having an automated system with an electronic medical record where you don’t have papers to track or place – it goes miles in patient care,” McFadden said. Fesko said similar efforts are going on at Community. Within the next two years, the hospitals are planning to use a new system of dispensing patients’ medications. Bar codes on patients’ wristbands would correlate to their prescriptions, he said. But patient safety is not the only thing causing hospitals to take action – aging baby boomers are creating cause for change too. There are more than 78 million baby boomers, according to 2005 U.S. Census data, and in the next five years hospitals will be seeing even more baby boomers as they age and need additional health care.

“I don’t want to make light of this, but we’re probably going to see an increase in mental health (cases), probably Alzheimer’s,” McFadden said. “I think we’re going to be seeing a lot more focus on the specialties.” At Community Healthcare System’s hospitals, hospitals will be tailoring services to meet the expectations and needs of baby boomers, Fesko said... “What we’ve learned of the baby boomers is they want convenience, control and value,” Fesko said. He continued saying that the hospitals will also be spending millions of dollars on labs and more robotic surgery technology to help compensate for an increase in patients and shortage in medical personnel.

POPuLatiOn SHift “I’m the oldest on the panel, and I intend to be a big burden on the health care system,” Diamond said with a laugh. Joking aside, Diamond said hospitals are looking at an aging population and are concerned. SSFHS is shifting its focus to chronic disease management and geriatric medicine to prepare for a larger volume of elderly patients, he said. The system also offers nursing homes and assisted living facilities. “Moving forward, we’re in a good position,” Diamond said. “We have a geriatric program in place that we’re sure is going to grow.” Methodist Hospitals is focusing more on services utilized by the elderly as well, such as orthopedics and cancer treatment.

PHySician SHORtage By 2025, the U.S. is projected to experience a shortage of as many as 12,000 physicians, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. If universal health care reform passes, there is a concern about whether the current physician population – which could decrease with a generation of doctors retiring – will be able to treat the impending influx of baby boomers in addition to the newly-insured general population. Diamond said the SSFHS – which has local locations in Munster, Hammond, Dyer and Crown Point – has affiliated programs with high schools, colleges and universities to foster student interest. “We try to catch them fairly early,”

guiding the discussion Jodi Juhl of Lakeshore Public Television served as the moderator for the health care summit.

Diamond said. “We believe if we catch them early, they’ll have a better chance.” Nationally, there are mal-distribution problems, especially with primary physicians, Diamond said. Luckily there is not a shortage of nurses in the area, Diamond said, however the average age of a nurse is in the late 40s. In the next five to 10 years a large portion of the region’s nurses could retire. “That’s a real concern for the future,” Diamond said. Methodist Hospitals is trying to tackle the physician shortage problem by offering a residency program through Northwestern University. “Physicians who join residency programs locally have a greater chance of staying in the region,” McFadden said. But it’s still difficult to attract talented doctors when medical schools can leave students with $200,000 in debt, Fesko said. “Family practice and internal medicine residencies are not full every year,” he said. “It’s harder and harder to get college students going into these fields.” With lower reimbursement rates from Medicaid and Medicare, law careers and Wall Street can offer more money. And with universal health care reform on the horizon, Diamond added that those reimbursements could change again. If reimbursement rates continue decreasing, it could affect the care patients receive at hospitals. “We are here to catch patients in a safety net with the limited resources we have,” Diamond said. “We have the best health care in the world, but it needs structural change.” In spite of health care reform or physician shortages, McFadden said the key focus moving forward is to deliver the best quality product. “There’s a lot of talk about a teaching center and trauma center...but our biggest concern is doing the best with what we have today,” McFadden said. Moving forward, Fesko said he would like to see improved communication between the hospitals and more Hoosiers from Northwest Indiana staying in the region to get their care. “There’s still a large number of people who use Cook County to get their health care,” Fesko said. They need to give us a try. They live here and work here. We want to keep them here.” As for hospital executives, Diamond said they toss and turn, sweating blood at night worrying about patients, the hospital and how to improve. “You worry about it constantly. It’s a constant source of stress.” note: a follow-up summit with the three hospital ceOs from Porter and LaPorte counties is scheduled for first quarter 2010.



>> cover story: the state of health care in NWI

Physicians’ perspectives on universal health care e By Lu ann fRanKLin


assive media campaigns and scores of political pundits have put health care under klieg lights, trying to persuade Americans of the value or the horrors of health care reform and universal insurance coverage.

Yet, there’s more to medical care than the debate going on in the halls of Congress or the barrage of TV commercials and talking heads, say some local physicians and medical researchers. Change is not only coming in health care, it’s already here, they say. Wellness standards and quality of care have been debated for decades, and one clear universal definition hasn’t emerged, says Alexander A. Stemer, M.D., an infectious disease specialist and founder and president of Medical Specialists Centers of


Indiana. “It’s difficult finding standards that everyone agrees to,” Stemer says. “In 1997, for example, hormone replacement therapy was thought to help lower the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease in postmenopausal women. Then in 2005, we received data that HRT can cause heart problems in some subsets.” However, Stemer says, Medicare has established standards for 140 health issues that can be measured, including blood pres-


sure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. The federal health insurance plan for those aged 65 and older also now rewards medical practices that adhere to those standards, he says. In addition, Medicare is often the first to cover new services. The federal insurance plan was the first to cover deep brain stimulation for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and the use of stents or grafts to repair aortic aneurysms. Medicare also identifies treatments that shouldn’t be covered, such as the use of an

anti-cancer drug that has more toxic than potentially beneficial effects. Although commercial plans also attempt to deny coverage for such services, they meet with varying degrees of success. Medical research over the past half century has greatly improved the human condition, according to Dipika Gupta, Ph.D., lead researcher and associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Indiana University School of MedicineNorthwest on the IUN campus in Gary. Gupta and her colleague Roman Dzarski, Ph.D, are studying genes that help the immune system fight off infections. The researchers found the genes in their lab at IUSM-NW and are studying the genes’ effect in mice. Research indicates these specific genes’ proteins may be linked to the human body’s reaction to inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, dermatitis and asthma, she says. “We are looking at what happens when the gene is absent or stops working,” Gupta says. “When we have completed studies with mice, we will then begin human studies.” New medical procedures and devices are helping people have longer, more productive lives, says Anton Thompkins, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal care with Lakeshore Bone & Joint Institute in Chesterton. For example, surgeries such as hip replacements that once involved large incisions and massive restructuring now can be performed with minimally-invasive procedures, Thompkins says. Delicate spinal surgeries can also be done through small incisions and using robotic technology only recently available. “Patients heal quicker,” he says. “In sports medicine, there are also new implants that allow the surgeon to do more complex cases.” QuaLity fiRSt Thompkins says that Congress and the President “are driving for saving money, for spending less money. But new technology is expensive and the patient does better.” Advances in medicine should be measured by the quality of the patient’s outcome rather than the money saved, Thompkins says. “It’s the speed of recovery and the degree of results the patients feel. This should not be based on accounting, but on patient outcomes.” However, money will continue to figure in health care and in people’s access to it, both physicians say. Medical practices that treat Medicaid patients lose money because of low

reimbursements, Thompkins says. “With Medicare, we break even and with private insurance, we make money.” And making money in a medical practice doesn’t mean doctors are in the upper income brackets, he says. “We pay nurses and other personnel’s salaries. We pay for utilities and equipment.” There is a risk-reward dynamic in practicing medicine, as in any business, Thompkins says. “When the risk of practicing medicine outweighs the rewards, doctors will choose not to practice. There will be fewer doctors.” Studies show that within the next decade, the nation will experience a shortage of physicians. In Indiana alone, there will be about 3,000 fewer doctors than will be needed. In addition to fewer physicians, the proposed national health care reform will swell the ranks of patients able to access care in a physician’s office rather than the emergency room, Stemer says. The ERs are where many of those without health insurance go for care. In Lake County alone, 15 percent or about 75,000 of the 500,000 residents currently don’t have health insurance, but will under the proposed legislation, he says. Across the nation, 32 million more people will have health care coverage by 2013 or 2014 if Congress and President Obama come to an agreement, Stemer says. What that means is there will be more patients than the available physicians can possibly treat, he says. “For example, there are 10 providers of dermatology in Lake County. Each can see 5,000 patients each year. How many of those 75,000 who will now have health insurance will need dermatology services, with acne, possible skin cancers? Maybe 20,000,” Stemer says. “If it now takes several weeks or a month to get an appointment at your doctor’s office, it will take more than three months if you call between Jan. 1 and March 31 of the first year this goes into effect,” he says. “Right now, we’re dealing with H1N1. If you don’t feel well and call your doctor’s office, they’ll probably say they’ll squeeze you in,” Stemer says. “What happens when 75,000 more people are trying to access care from 100 to 200 doctors? You’re going to be told to go to the ER. We’ll then have equity in health care. We’ll trade patients making ER visits, and the costs won’t drop. This process won’t save money.” In fact, he says, if the proposed health care reform passes, “taxes will rise or the dollar will be devalued. Someone has to pay for it. What’s going to happen is that people are going to have to accept less care.”

“With Medicare, we break even and with private insurance, we make money.” Anton Thompkins, MD Lakeshore Bone & Joint Institute

“What happens when 75,000 more people are trying to access care from 100 to 200 doctors?” Alexander A. Stemer, M.D. Medical Specialists Centers of Indiana



>> cover story: the state of health care in NWI

Health care communications specialists balance patient protection and community concern By Lu ann fRanKLin

I 14

n an era of instant mass communication, health care providers have a plethora of tools at their disposal to get the word out about new procedures, services, equipment and facilities. Yet, establishing relationships remains at the core of communicating with the public and the press.



ederal patient privacy regulations established by HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), have set new parameters for what information hospital public relations/ marketing personnel can release. HIPAA requires that every patient treated at a health care facility be asked if he or she wants to “opt in” or “opt out” of the hospital’s directory. That directory lists the patient’s name, room number and whether the patient wants visitors or anyone notified of the hospitalization. If the patient is unable to communicate or is a minor, the family is consulted. If a patient “opts out” of the directory, mail or flowers addressed to that patient will be returned to the sender, says Mylinda Cane, regional director of marketing for the Community Health Care System, which includes the Community Hospital of Munster, St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart. “If the press or someone else calls about that patient, we will say we have no information,” Cane says. The HIPAA patient confidentiality laws “are very strict,” says Joe Dejanovic, director of marketing and communications at St. Anthony Medical Center in Crown Point. “If hospitals fail to follow the government HIPPA laws, they can be fined and even face jail.” Before HIPAA, reporters regularly inquired about the condition of patients injured in vehicle accidents, industrial accidents and during the commission of crimes. Hospital spokespersons readily gave out that information using four condition categories: critical but stable, serious, fair and good. Now HIPAA provides another layer of patient protection in these situations, Cane says. “Patients can remain in the directory, but say they don’t want the media to know their condition.” This applies even in accident cases or those injuries that resulted from crimes, she says. Again, the family can speak for the patient if necessary. “Only in the most general of car accident cases are we permitted to give one word condition reports,” Dejanovic explains. “There would be no explanation of injuries such as blunt trauma, broken left arm, etc. as we were able to do in years past.” HIPAA does add another layer of tasks because the patient and/or family must be contacted, and it means that the media doesn’t always get the information it seeks, says Stacey Kellogg, director of marketing

for LaPorte Regional Health System, which includes LaPorte Hospital, Starke Memorial Hospital in Knox and multiple physician practices. However, she says, the law has created new opportunities for communication with patients and the community at large. “We look at HIPAA as a protection for our patients,” Kellogg says. “If I were a patient, I would like my privacy protected.” In addition, the media is very savvy about HIPAA, says Maria Ramos, manager of public relations and marketing for St. Margaret Mercy Healthcare Centers in Hammond and Dyer. “The media knows about needing the patient’s full name before they even call,” Ramos says. “They need specific information before we can respond.” In the case of mass casualties, hospital spokespersons can provide the number of patients being treated in the emergency room, Ramos says. “We can give an overview, but no specific information. For example, when the hospital in Dyer flooded two years ago, we were able to say we evacuated more than 60 patients.”

federal patient privacy regulations have set new parameters for what information hospital personnel can release However, with the outbreak of H1N1 Type A flu, most hospital personnel say they are referring all media questions about confirmed cases or those being treated for flu-like symptoms to county or state health departments. “We will refer reporters to the Indiana State Board of Health. They collect that data,” Cane says. Kellogg said all inquiries about flu are directed to the LaPorte County Health Department. “As a marketing pandemic situation, the best thing is to refer all questions to the county or state health agency,” she says. “Then there’s one central voice.” Although the PR staff at St. Anthony also refers reports to local and state agencies for overall statistics, Dejanovic says, “If we had confirmed cases it would not be a problem to release that information

as long as we don’t release any identifiable patient information due to HIPAA constraints. According to the CDC, most of the flu cases presently being seen by family physicians and hospital emergency rooms are H1N1.” The federal privacy laws don’t hinder hospital PR or marketing personnel from contributing to media stories, Ramos says. “We field a number of questions about new trends or situations from reporters, and we find experts, either physicians or department heads, within our facility who can talk to that issue,” Ramos says. Breaking that technical information into layman’s terms is a skill communication specialists cultivate, she says. Press releases, the time-honored method of communicating with the media, continue to be used by all health care providers, including individual medical, dental and ancillary practices. But, many of those press releases arrive via e-mail. “We also pitch story ideas to the press, by calling reporters or editors,” she says. “Our overall marketing efforts are geared toward educating the public not only regarding our services, technology and programs, but to help them become more well-informed when it comes to staying healthy,” says St. Anthony’s Dejanovic. With the advent of the Internet, health care providers can reach consumers through Web sites, designed to inform potential patients and to showcase new services, equipment, procedures or facilities. “We can get information out quickly on our site,” Kellogg says. Hospitals throughout Northwest Indiana use printed materials such as magazines, newsletters, brochures and post cards to get their messages out to the public. For example, Ramos says St. Margaret Mercy’s quarterly newsletter, “Pursuit of Healthy Living,” is mailed to 125,000 households within the two campuses’ primary and secondary service areas. Hosting health fairs and screenings both at the hospitals and in the community helps raise awareness of what hospitals offer. So do talks by specific health personnel to church and community groups, Ramos says. Paid advertising is another tool used to keep the public informed about hospital and physician services. Thirty years ago, hospital administrators vetoed any form of advertising. However, now, advertising is a major communication device in the public relations/marketing arsenal, says Kellogg. “We do a variety of paid advertisements in print, radio, TV and on the web,” she says. “This allows us to control our message.”



>> cover story: the state of health care in NWI

H1N1 – The view on the ground By SARAH TOMPKINS


1N1, or the swine flu, is officially in Northwest Indiana, spreading through schools and businesses. Hospitals and physicians are now treating all people with flu symptoms as H1N1. “One hundred percent of what we have in the community as influenza is H1N1,” said Dr. Alex Stemer, CEO and president of Medical Specialists Centers of Indiana. Hospitals are trying to prevent the virus from spreading, said Ian McFadden, CEO of Methodist Hospitals. At Methodist, billboards list flu symptoms and what patients should do as a precaution against transmitting the virus. Hospitals are putting new rules in place as well. “If there’s visitors under age 14, we are discouraging visits unless there’s extenuating circumstances,” McFadden said. Though the state said H1N1 vaccines would be available October 15, only about 3,500 doses came to the Lake County Health Department to treat a population


of about 500,000, said Don Fesko, CEO of Community Hospital. “We’ve acquired our doses, and we don’t have any left now.” Gene Diamond, CEO of the Sisters of St. Francis Health Services, agreed there was a shortage of vaccines available. Many hospitals have been trying to vaccinate medical staffers who interact with patients in addition to the general public, so the shortage has caused concern. “We’re not seeing enough vaccines yet for all those who need it,” Diamond said. But Stemer says vaccines are not the most efficient way to handle the virus


anymore. “The epidemic has won the race over the vaccine delivery,” Stemer said. Stemer said children who receive the vaccine can take up to a month to develop immunity from the H1N1 virus. There should be more of a focus now on treatment, he said, with a release of more TAMIFLU. TAMIFLU is a medication that is not effective in treating the seasonal flu, but 90 percent affective in treating the swine flu. Now that H1N1 is in the region, Diamond said it is here to stay. “We think we’re going to see this ebb and flow for quite awhile,” he said.

biz buzz >> WINfIELD

Dollar Shop at Amelia’s Market opens for business The Dollar Shop at Amelia’s Market opened earlier this week. The Dollar Shop, located next door to Amelia’s, 10839 Randolph St., offers hundreds of new items all priced at $1. The shop will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. For more information, call (219) 661-5582.


Lakeshore Bone & Joint Institute joins Northwest Indiana Forum Lakeshore Bone & Joint Institute has joined the Northwest Indiana Forum, said Forum President and Chief Executive Officer Vince Galbiati. Forum members address the greatest economic, environmental and governmental issues facing the region. Lakeshore Bone & Joint is a comprehensive orthopedic health care system. The 14-doctor practice has eight offices throughout Northwest Indiana and is a leader in the science of orthopedics, podiatry and rheumatology. Funded by membership contributions and grants, the Northwest Indiana Forum is a nonprofit regional environmental and economic development membership organization serving northwest Indiana.


McDonalds of Chicagoland and NWI now open 24 hours McDonald’s Operators of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana announced recently that Chicago-area McDonald’s are now open 24 hours daily. Participation varies by restaurant, and 24-hour service is not available everywhere. “It’s important that all of our customers have access to our quality, affordable meals around the clock,” said Ron Lofton, MOCNI board president. McDonald’s Owners of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana represent more than 100 owner/operators and nearly 500 restaurants throughout the greater Chicagoland region. For more information, visit



St. Margaret Mercy, with campuses in Hammond and Dyer, recently received the 2009-10 Women’s Health Excellence Award from HealthGrades, the nation’s leading independent health care ratings organization, based on a newly released study of patient outcomes. Hospitals that receive this award rank among the top five percent of all hospitals nationwide in providing care to women in women’s medicine, women’s cardiovascular procedures and women’s bone and joint health. “We are very pleased to receive this recognition,” St. Margaret Mercy President Tom Gryzbek said in a news release. “The Women’s Health Excellence Award honors St. Margaret Mercy’s efforts to provide superior quality care. Our focus has always been to bring the best healthcare to our community, with the best physicians and professionals in their fields. Providing exceptional healthcare to women is especially important because healthy women cultivate healthy families.” The full HealthGrades study can be found at For more information, visit


Cedar Lake joins Buy American movement Cedar Lake is now among the municipalities nationwide that have passed the United Steelworkers-sponsored “Buy American” resolution, according to the union. The resolution has been introduced buy USW activists in over 500 states, cities, boroughs, counties and towns. It’s part of the union’s Make Our Future Work economic renewal campaign, which aims to refocus the American economy on manufacturing and rebuild the middle class. “To get our nation back on track, we must get our economy working again and working for the middle class. In order to do that, we need to insist that our tax dollars are spent at home, on American-made products,” said Gary Bender, of United Steelworkers Union Local 1010. For more information, visit or

photograph by Jonathan L. Hendricks


St. Margaret Mercy among top 5% for women’s health

[ Updates on local businesses ] >> PORTAGE

Advertising, marketing agency joins Northwest Indiana Forum


photograph by Tony V. Martin

Prompt Ambulance Service expands into South Bend area Prompt Ambulance Service recently bought Indiana EMS Ambulance Service of South Bend to expand its network from Lake County through St. Joseph County. Headquartered at 9835 Express Drive in Highland, Prompt also has bases in Merrillville and Valparaiso. Prompt owners Gary and Shar Miller already have added equipment and personnel to the new Prompt Ambulance South Bend location at 646 Chapin. “We’ve added 10 employees, four new ambulances and six new Med Cars (wheelchair transports),” Gary Miller said. “Our primary focus will be nonemergency transport of patients to health facilities throughout St. Joseph County and the surrounding areas, even into Michigan.” Prompt Ambulance of South Bend will offer transportation for patients discharged from the hospital, and has a mutual aid pact to supplement municipal ambulance departments in the St. Joseph County area in an emergency. The new purchase expands Prompt Ambulance Service’s fleet to more than 120 vehicles and personnel to more than 400. That new equipment also includes the Special Operations/Mobile Command Unit unveiled in May. The 29-foot ATV trailer can serve as a communications center and has a complete, self-contained first-aid station equipped with basic and advanced life support equipment just like that found in an ambulance. The family-owned ambulance company started as part of Fagan-Miller Funeral Home service in 1932.

Diversified Marketing Strategies Inc. has joined the Northwest Indiana Forum, said Forum President and Chief Executive Officer Vince Galbiati. Forum members address the greatest economic, environmental and governmental issues facing the region. DMS is an advertising and marketing agency located in Crown Point. DMS also has expertise with the construction and manufacturing industry. For more information on the Forum, contact Karen Lauerman, director of marketing and communications, at (219) 763-6303, ext. 181 or or visit


Pomranke appointed to Citizens board of directors Daryl D. Pomranke, 48, president and chief operating officer of Citizens Financial Bank and CFS Bancorp Inc. was appointed to the Citizens Financial Bank board of directors. “Since joining our Company over two years ago, Daryl has clearly demonstrated his leadership and operating skills, making this appointment to the bank’s board a natural progression,” Thomas F. Prisby, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement. Prior to joining the Bank and holding company, Pomranke, who has nearly two decades of banking experience, held several executive management and operating positions with Mercantile National Bank of Indiana and its successor, Harris Bank, N.A. He currently serves as chairman of the Marquette Catholic High School Board of Trustees. CFS Bancorp, Inc. is the parent of Citizens Financial Bank, a $1.1 billion asset federal savings bank. The Bank has 22 offices throughout adjoining markets in Chicago’s Southland and Northwest Indiana. For more information, visit


Local ACT office receives safety award ATC’s Highland office, 2224 Industrial Drive| Suite A, recently received an Excellence Award for safety performance in 2008 from Northwest Indiana Business Roundtable. ATC is a nationwide engineering firm specializing in geotechnical engineering, environmental consulting and construction materials testing services. ATC’s Highland office (formerly ATEC Associates and Salisbury Engineering) has served the local community for more than 40 years. For more information, visit or call (219) 922-7235.



biz buzz >> CROWN POINT

Crown Point’s Ross president of state insurance and advisor group

Community Hospital extends number of private rooms Community Hospital in Munster has added 26 more private patient rooms on the second floor of the West Pavilion that opened July 6 to cardiac patients in need of specialized monitoring. Following the relocation of oncology care in February to the fifth floor with private suites, the second floor has been renovated to accommodate a new cardiovascular-intermediate care unit, called CV-IMCU. The new CV-IMCU incorporates advanced technology to help deliver faster results and better care. Each room is equipped with technology that can detect conditions affecting the heart’s function. Data is displayed on the monitors in the nurses station. A built-in tube system enables staff to send tissue and blood samples to the laboratory for analysis, and also relays medicines from the pharmacy to the nurses station for convenience. The new CV-IMCU floor on 2 West is the third phase of a $10 million expansion project to provide additional private patient rooms at Community Hospital. A $5 million expansion of the hospital Family Birthing Center was completed in September 2008, with all new private room accommodations for moms and their babies. Earlier this year, an Inpatient Oncology unit on the fifth floor and a medical/surgical unit on the sixth floor featuring 52 new private rooms in total opened to patients and their visitors. To date, an estimated 40 new jobs, nursing and support staff, have been created with the opening of the expanded units on the fifth and sixth floors of the hospital. Community Hospital also recently received the 2009-10 Women’s Health Excellence Award from HealthGrades, the nation’s leading independent health care ratings organization, based on a newly released study of patient outcomes. For more information, visit http://www.comhs. org/community/




Spring Mill receives customer service award Spring Mill Health Campus, 101 West 87th Ave., recently received the President’s Award for Excellence at The Trilogy Health Services Spring Meeting. The award was based on customer satisfaction results from a semi-annual survey that is sent to residents’ family members. Spring Mill Health Campus received recognition for their customer satisfaction scores in staff attitude, quality of nursing care, food quality, activity programming and appearance/ cleanliness. “We are excited and pleased to receive such great recognition,” Executive Director Marnie Davisson said. Spring Mill Health Campus offers a full range of personalized senior living services. For more information, contact Davisson or Amy Nikruto, community service representative at (219) 756-0744 or visit


Vanair Manufacturing acquires Air N Arc Inc. Vanair Manufacturing recently reached an agreement to acquire Air N Arc Inc. Air N Arc operations will relocate to Vanair’s new manufacturing facility in Michigan from its current facility in Hiawatha, Kan. Vanair will maintain the current Air N Arc product line and dealer network. For more information, call (800) 526-8817 or visit

photograph by Judy fidkowski


George G. Ross, of Lakes of the Four Seasons, has been elected to serve as 2009-10 president of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Indiana Chapter. Ross was elected in mid-May at the state convention in French Lick and assumed office July 1. Ross, CLU, ChFC, has been with Prudential Financial since 1986. He manages an office on the Crown Point square. Ross has served as president of the group’s local Indiana chapter four times. He is the current chairman of its Make a Dream program. He has been on the state board as trustee and officer for the past seven years. He also is on the Board of Directors of the Greater Crown Point Chamber of Commerce. Founded in 1890 as the National Association of Life Underwriters, NAIFA is composed of nearly 800 state and local associations representing the business interests of 60,000 members nationwide. Members focus their practices on life insurance and annuities, health insurance and employee benefits, and financial advising and investments. For more information, visit

Your Automotive Source for Northwest Indiana

Locate Auto Dealers with Ease, in NW Indiana & Chicagoland BUICK

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SMITH CHEVROLET - LOWELL • 7 700 W. Commerical, Lowell, IN 219-696-8931 • MIKE ANDERSON CHEVROLET • 4 The Chevy Giant on I-65 I-65 and 61st Avenue, Merrillville, IN 219-947-4151 •


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GMC SCHEPEL GMC • 9 3209 West Lincoln Highway, Merrillville, IN 219-769-6381 • CIRCLE GMC • 65 1300 U.S. 41,, Schererville, IN IN. 219-865-4400 • IL. 773-221-8124


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Promoting local business people who are climbing the professional ladder

Rob Jensen was recently promoted to executive director of business, communications and facilities development at the Hammond Clinic. Jensen, who was director of business development since 2007, will implement additional internal and external communications tools.




White Lodging of Merrillville has appointed Steve Ransone and Tina Laskaris as regional vice presidents for the hospitality management company. As regional vice president of region 10, Ransone will oversee properties located throughout Indiana and Ohio. Laskaris joins the company to oversee hotels found in region 8, with hotels in Indiana and Michigan. The James C. Kimbrough Bar Association, a group comprised of lawyers who practice in Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland, elected its officers for the 2009-10 fiscal year. Attorneys Trent A. McCain, principal of McCain Law Offices P.C., and Shelice Tolbert, partner at Kopka Pinkus Dolin & Eads P.C., were respectively elected as president and vice president. Attorneys Alger V. Boswell III and Barbara A. Bolling were elected as secretary and treasurer, respectively. The immediate past president is attorney Michael Tolbert. Marsha Coleman, of Cedar Lake, has joined the staff of AAA Hoosier Home Healthcare Specialists Inc., of Crown Point, as marketing director. Diversified Marketing Strategies, Inc. has hired Jean Fostini as its Office Coordinator. Fostini has more than 16 years experience in office management.




Diane Hunt, MD, a member of La Porte Regional Physician Network, has opened a practice in Westville. Hunt is board certified in family practice. She previously served as Chief Resident in Family Medicine at St. Francis Hospital of Beech Grove, Ind. Caroline Madrigal, of Dyer, Wilma Straatman, of Lansing, Lirio GuiangSantos, of Olympia Fields, and Jannise Rife, of Sauk Village, have been named 2009 all-star nurses by MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island, Ill. (formerly St. Francis Hospital). Madrigal works in the


Surgical Intensive Care Unit. Straatman works as a charge nurse in the Medical Intensive Care Unit. Guiang-Santos works in the Telemetry Unit. Rife is a charge nurse in the Emergency Department. The following lia sophia advisers earned a vacation to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and Grand Cayman, Bahamas, recently by reaching personal sales goals: Geneve Terry, of Cedar Lake; Jacqueline Wallace, of Crown Point; Mary Roman, of Crown Point; Kristen Schaller, of Crown Point; Joann Keck, of Griffith; Deborah Urban, of Highland; Nancy Hutsenpiller, of Munster; Dana Argoudelis, of Schererville; and Olivia Martin, of Whiting. Jewell Harris Jr. has started Harris Law Firm P.C. in Crown Point, Indiana. In addition to his municipal law practice, Harris concentrates in the areas of family law, traffic/DUI, criminal and civil rights (employment discrimination under Title VII, ADA, and ADEA). Douglas Watkins, a Thrivent Financial representative in Valparaiso, has been named the 2008 Volunteer of the Year for the Thrivent Financial Indiana Regional Office. In addition to the honor, Watkins was given $1,000 to donate to Immanuel Lutheran School, the charitable organization of his choice. Roman Filipowicz, MD, recently joined La Porte Regional Physician Network (LRPN). Filipowicz specializes in neurosurgery ĂŚ the surgical discipline focusing on treating the central and peripheral nervous systems and spinal column diseases involving surgical interventions. He has offices in La Porte and Valparaiso. The Minas Sabau Group, composed of Randy Minas, Shawn Sabaur and Kyle Klepsch, have joined City Securities Corp. as financial advisers in Crown Point. Klepsch has a law degree and all three are securities licensed. Dr. Shenita Staggers has opened the Staggers Chiropractic Wellness Center, formerly known as Haskins Chiropractic and Acupuncture, in Griffith. Staggers provides a wide range of chiropractic and healing techniques.

Char Sandberg was the Top Listing Sales associate and Margie Mattix was the Top Selling and Top Volume sales associate for April at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Porter County office. Abul Basher, MD, FACC, recently became a member of La Porte Regional Physician Network. His office is in New Carlisle. He provides prevention, treatment and management of heart and vascular disease, and specializes in echocardiograms, stress tests and cardiac catheterization procedures. Magdalena Lybolt, broker and owner of Prime Real Estate, has joined the Schererville Chamber Ambassador Program. As an ambassador, Lybolt helps coordinate local events, assists with Chamber activities, mentors new members and helps promote the growth of the Chamber. Peter Palanca, of Homewood, has been elected vice chairman of the National Association of Children of Alcoholics, a national membership organization whose mission is to advocate for all children and families affected by alcoholism and drug dependencies. He currently serves as vice president of Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities. John Gogolak has joined ACMS Group Inc. of Crown Point as Vice President of the Commercial Division. Gogolak brings more than 35 years of construction experience to the company, including knowledge of the industrial, commercial and residential markets Ryan Peschke, a 1998 Chesterton High School graduate, was among 25 teachers honored recently with the Golden Apple Award. The program honors outstanding central Indiana educators who creatively use math, science or technology in the classroom to inspire, motivate and improve student achievement. Thomas J. Burns, President of BurnsKish Funeral Homes Inc. in Hammond and Munster, was recognized for 55 years of membership by the Indiana Funeral Directorís Association at the Associationís 129th annual convention held recently in Indianapolis. Tom Cath will serve as director of Valparaiso Universityís Career Center fol-

lowing 25 years of experience as director of career services at DePauw University. Cath will provide leadership for comprehensive services that aid students in reaching their career development goals and for building relationships with potential employers. Andrea Colson has joined 1st Source Bank as assistant vice president of business banking. Prior to joining 1st Source, Colson worked as a business banker at Chase and in private banking in Wells Fargo.


Jeff Kaczka, of Highland, has become an independent consultant with Tastefully Simple Inc., a national direct-sales company featuring easy-to-prepare gourmet products. Bruce Ivers, of Korellis Roofing Inc., has successfully completed a four-day Level 1 Infrared Thermography Training Course presented by the Infrared Training Center. Ivers will now become a Certified Level 1 Thermographer. Jay Runyan, operations manager at Korellis Roofing Inc., has been appointed to the Board of the National Roofing Contractors Association, one of the construction industry’s most respected trade associations. William D. Bestow has been appointed president of Primet Flue Power in Hammond, a distributor of hydraulic, pneumatic and electronic automation components. Bestow has been with the company for 17 years. Carsten Falkenberg, of Crown Point, and Jeffrey Lamb, of Valparaiso, both financial representatives with the South Shore Group of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, have earned membership in the 2009 Million Dollar Round Table. Their achievement was based on sales, client service, ethical conduct and professional knowledge.




Scott King has joined the Merrillville law firm of Casale, Woodward & Buls LLP, taking an of counsel role with the firm. King is the former mayor of Gary.

To submit an item for Professionals on the Move, send information and a photo, if available, to 601 W. 45th Ave., Munster, IN 46321, e-mail to business@nwitimes. com or fax to (219) 933-3249. Faxed photos will not be published.




[ our turn ]

by W. Patrick Downes, Nicholas K. Lagina, and Carrie L. Flores Attorneys at Krieg DeVault of Munster, Indiana

The case for tort reform


iscussions of health care efficiency, availability and costs are ubiquitous. With the current focus in Washington on developing comprehensive health care reform, the prevalence of this conversation is not surprising. Less clear is the path to implementing such a plan, which is rife with substantial social, political, and financial repercussions. Speculation that health care reform should include tort reform raises the question: could tort reform reduce health care costs while promoting provider availability? Various states, including Indiana, have enacted medical malpractice liability reform in response to increased frequency and severity of medical malpractice claims, which thereby increased medical malpractice premiums, and ultimately were perceived as a threat to the continued viability of health care practices. The most common elements

Indiana spearheaded tort reform when, in 1975, it passed the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act included some combination of procedural barriers to filing medical malpractice claims and caps on damages awarded in such actions. Other examples of tort reform measures include reductions to the statute of limitations, recognition of additional defenses, limits on joint and several liability limits on attorney fees, and potential sanctions against a plaintiff for filing a frivolous lawsuit. These measures, it was thought, would lead to reductions in business operation expenses, like medical malpractice premiums, and would create an environment with adequate availability of physicians and other health care professionals. Indiana spearheaded tort reform when, in 1975, it passed the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act. This tort reform law, the first of its kind on the country, provides that health care providers who pay the requisite surcharge to the Indiana Department of Insurance and otherwise meet the requirements of the Act are “qualified” and thereby afforded certain protections. Before an injured party may proceed in state or federal court, he must first submit a claim of medical malpractice to a medical review panel for pretrial determination. The panel’s decision is not conclusive; however, it is evidence that may be introduced at trial. In addition, among other things, the Act limits potential liability for a qualified health care provider to $250,000. If a plaintiff ’s award exceeds $250,000, the plaintiff may proceed against the Patient Compensation



Fund, which is held by the IDOI, for an additional $1 million. Other aspects of the Act include a reduced “occurrence based” statute of limitations, the availability of a contributory negligence defense and a cap on plaintiff attorney fees. The diverging approaches to tort reform make it difficult to determine which approach is best; however, many studies have shown the positive effects of tort reform statutes or various elements thereof. Studies on the topic have found that states with tort reform statutes have experienced lower trends in medical malpractice claims rates than states without tort reform statutes. In contrast, states without tort reform suffer in a variety of ways. For example, an internal medicine physician in Cook County, Illinois pays $41,066 per year for medical malpractice insurance, whereas an internal medicine physician in Marion County, Indiana using the same insurance company pays $6,038 (plus an IDOI surcharge of $3,218). Moreover, studies have shown that patients in states without tort reform face decreased access to physicians because physicians in those states have migrated to states with tort reform statutes or limited the scope of practice. In recent years, rising medical malpractice insurance premiums spurred states and even the federal government to consider tort reform legislation as a cost savings measure. Moreover, businesses may very well benefit from this type of tort reform in ways not readily apparent. For example, reductions in the level of exposure attributable to medical malpractice claims could increase the number of companies in the insurance market and this increased competition, coupled with the federal government’s interest in promoting competition under various options, could significantly reduce the medical malpractice insurance premiums physicians pay. Another potential benefit is decreased expense to purchasers of health insurance, particularly employers. One could expect that if the medical malpractice premiums decline, physician operating costs will decline as well. In a more competitive environment under the impending economic model, this reduction in a physician’s operating costs could lower the underlying elements of commercial health insurance premiums (and translate to a sizeable reduction in health insurance premiums paid by employers and individuals). While it may be too soon to predict the precise effect of state or nationally mandated tort reform, one thing is clear: businesses and individuals in states with medical malpractice acts, including Indiana, have benefited tremendously. As such, one considering healthcare reform should also consider the broad range of potential beneficial effects stemming from enactment of tort reform.

[ helping hand ]

by Karen M. Lauerman Northwest Indiana Forum

Innovative marketing helps fund health-related research


he healthcare marketplace has become fiercely competitive, with cause, disease and healthrelated organizations battling for attention, assistance and awareness while they work simultaneously to operate and effectively fulfill their missions. Achieving these goals, however, requires ongoing “behind-the-scenes” responsibilities, from differentiating and providing programs and services to generating financial support and building relationships. The list is endless. Corporations are constantly seeking innovative ways to differentiate their products and services in sustainable ways while operating a financially sound organization. Competing globally requires a strong brand, building new and deeper connections with consumers and communities and gaining access to new markets. As a result, there is a growing trend of companies and health-related nonprofits creating a variety of partnerships that advance both the mission of the nonprofit organization and the business purpose of the company. Healthcare is about more than just medicine. It’s about research, advocacy, funding and cures. In today’s healthcare environment, finding partners who understand the synchronicity between business and health related issues is crucial. Corporations and nonprofits do in fact speak different languages, especially when it comes to what the return on investment should be for both parties. A successful working relationship will address goals, priorities and activities. As well as funding the activities, endorsing a key message, or marketing which generate awareness and media visibility for both organizations. Think about Yoplait’s “Save Lids to Save Lives” Campaign in support of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Each pink lid that consumers turn in results in 10

cents for the organization. Another national example is the American Heart Association and Subway partnering on Heart walks, Fresh Fit meals for children, and financial support for other activities. Regionally, Sisters of St. Francis Healthcare Services joined with national sponsor Macy’s for the local Go Red for Women Campaign. Horseshoe Casino supports the Alzheimer’s Association where proceeds from the gala are an investment in both discovering treatments and an eventual cure, and will provide support to those faced with the challenges of caring for loved ones with dementia. All illustrate the transformational opportunities that now exist for the organizations involved in the partnership. Key to these relationships is the return on investment. Linking a company and its products to a health issue or cause in order to enhance the corporation’s image while benefiting the cause or organization is at the heart of a sustainable partnership/mission impact. The value can be found in the corporation’s ability to enhance employee and customer recruitment. The cause benefits with enhanced credibility for health education programs, increased activities and potential new partners to join the cause. Healthcare is a promise that patients and their families will be well cared for. Healthcare-related programs and services that empower, support or research what ails them become the causes that require the support of strong corporate allies in the fight. To be successful, you have to think creatively. Whether you are on the corporate or non-profit side of the arrangement, think less about cause-marketing and more about partnering—becoming the partner of your collaborator—and you will have more success.

There is a growing trend of companies and healthrelated nonprofits creating a variety of partnerships



[ new futures ]

by Daniel Dumezich Partner, Mayer Brown Rowe, Chicago

A new blueprint for health and treatment in the U.S.


n January 10, 1776 Thomas Paine published “Common Sense,” the first document to openly call for armed rebellion with Great Britain, a cruel and seemingly insurmountable oppressor. Today, America faces the threats of another cruel and seemingly insurmountable oppressor— a senseless, government-based healthcare system. In the face of this unjust, costly problem, it is time to allow the same, basic American common sense to help us create a health and treatment system in the United States founded on the traditional American principle of individual responsibility. Presently, healthcare expenditures are projected to reach a staggering $2.4 trillion. Given the absolute priority of reforming the healthcare system, why has the system failed?

Healthcare expenditures are projected to reach a staggering $2.4 trillion The answer is quite simple: you cannot reform what does not exist. The fragmentation of United States healthcare (50 different state Medicaid programs, traditional Medicare, Medicare Managed Care, Part D, thousands of different employer sponsored plans and individual plans offered by a host of insurance companies) is as far away as one can get from the order and efficiency that the word ‘system’ implies. The discussion should therefore not be reform, but creation. What we need to do and do quickly is create a health and treatment system in the United States. The good news is that many of the elements needed to create this system already exist. The challenge will be to mesh these elements into a coherent system that clearly articulates the roles of the individual, government, healthcare provider and private business in the matters of health and treatment. The goals I have listed below to create this health and treatment system are the same goals identified by the National Academy of Sciences fifteen years ago: - Maintain and improve health and well-being. - Make access to treatment available to all American citizens that wish to be covered. - Encourage the efficient use of our limited healthcare resources.



Although not complete, this list provides the major elements needed to create a health and treatment system in the United States: - The federal government should require that all healthcare insurers must offer a standard benefit plan. The standard plan would be offered to all Americans with no refusal due to pre-existing conditions and would not be tied to employment. It would be a low premium plan ($1,000 per family per year) that pays the first $2,000 of medical costs. After the first $2,000 is used up, the family pays the next $2,000 in costs after which normal co-insurance applies. - Standardization reduces administrative cost and provides a needed platform for health education. Health education is the “Health” side of the treatment system. It is a critical element. This plan structure creates an incentive for the individual to actively manage his health and be discriminate and knowledgeable of tests and treatments offered. Proper education should reduce unneeded procedures and tests. The low premium provides individuals with access to treatment and, most importantly, it allows employers to get out of the health insurance business. - Create an expectation that individuals should pay for their medical treatments. Doctors and hospitals must be fairly paid, and the unfortunate misconception that treatment should be paid for by someone else is a misguided byproduct of American history that sorely needs correcting. We cannot continue to force healthcare providers to carry our burden through uncompensated care or Medicaid payments that do not fully cover costs. It is not appropriate to expect the government to cover these expenses, either. We should not expect the government to pay for our mortgage, cars or food, so why should we expect it to pay for our healthcare? - Eliminate Medicare and Medicaid in favor of this standard plan which would be made available to government employees (including the U.S. Congress) and the armed services. This will provide a needed platform to solve imminent funding problems and also rationalize payments to providers. From the time of the publication of Thomas Paine’s immortal “Common Sense,” America has stood for staying strong in order to triumph over adversity and assure citizens the basic rights of mankind. However, governmentpaid healthcare is not one of these rights. Instead, it is an absolutely nonsensical monster threatening to derail our economy with its tremendous costs. It is only common sense that this plan, based on individual responsibility, is the correct path for America’s healthcare system.

[ my business ] by Bill Thon Executive Director of Workforce Development Ivy Tech Community College Northwest

Simulators in healthcare education ease anxiety for students


magine a new healthcare workers’ first day on the job: They have just met their first patient. The patient is describing some discomfort they are experiencing. Then, in an instant the patient goes into a health care crisis. They abruptly stop talking, they begin to turn blue and go limp. In an instant the healthcare worker needs to know how to react. Scenes like this can play out in emergency rooms, doctor’s offices and a number of healthcare settings; and a new healthcare worker is expected to respond in a confident and professional manner. Nothing that is learned in a book can probably prepare them emotionally for that day. However, in recent years a great deal of progress has been made in simulating in the classroom this possible real life emergency or crisis situation. Many universities and colleges are investing in lifelike robotic mannequins. These mannequins are programmable teaching tools that can speak, have intravenous training arms and legs, cough, and have very realistic blood pressure and vital signs. They also simulate real medical disorders. Some female simulators can go into labor, give birth and replicate different birthing and post-partum scenarios. The almost human robotic mannequins offer a realistic training experience through which clinical knowledge and interpersonal teamwork skills can be taught. Students enjoy the experience and find it relevant to their future practice. Simulation-based training may teach certain topics better than traditional lecture formats and could help to fill gaps in textbook learning.

Lora Plank, dean of the School of Health Sciences at Ivy Tech Community College Northwest, says the college has both male and female mannequins. In December, several members from the School of Health Sciences will participate in training to learn how to program the mannequins for all different types of scenarios. Once they have mastered the programming, the mannequins will be integrated into the health sciences curriculum that includes nursing, respiratory therapy, surgical technology, physical therapy assistant training, and medical assisting. “The level of exposure students get in critical situations is amazing,” Plank says. “With these kinds of simulation labs, they can actually perform and not just be observers. Students are able to practice recognizing disorders in a non-critical environment where they can be free to review and make improvements without the real patient impact. The ability to review the experience is a major benefit to students.” Plank adds that the scenarios used in the instruction at Ivy Tech are not just limited to the mannequin interaction. Other students are used to assume the role of family members. Students can react like they are in a real hospital setting. The cost of this technology can range from $80,000 (high end functional man) to $9000 (more limited function). Ivy Tech has invested in a range of simulators located at the Valpo campus nursing lab. However, other healthcare students on each of the campuses will have access to the simulators. Although expensive, the expected payoff in using mannequins for the health care industry is better education and fewer mistakes, complications and deaths.

Simulation-based training may teach certain topics better than traditional lecture formats



BusINess Magazine  

Health Care 2010