Looking Back and Moving Forward

IHA councils reflect on 2017 accomplishments

IHA relies on input and guidance from its members as it works to provide Indiana hospitals with leadership, representation and support to improve health care. Its seven councils provide opportunities for members to participate and help develop policies that are sent directly to the IHA Board of Directors for action. Each council is focused on a particular subject area and chaired by a hospital executive.

In 2017, IHA’s councils worked on a wide range of issues, from the implications of proposals to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act to ways to address the opioid epidemic in the state. Meet the leaders of IHA’s councils and learn more about their recent accomplishments.


Jean Scallon, FACHE, CEO, Bloomington Meadows Hospital

“The council focused on four big issues in 2017: how individuals, especially Medicaid patients, accessed behavioral health services; suicide awareness and prevention; addiction and the opioid crisis; and the shortage of behavioral health providers. We partnered with the Women’s Fund to share messaging and tools related to the early signs of emotional distress, and we worked with the Bowen Center for Health Workforce Research and Policy on research related to the workforce shortage,” Chair Jean Scallon said. “When you think about it, with all the stories about opioid deaths and active shooters in the news, sometimes the work seems endless. As a council, we have the ability to create awareness of these issues and maybe, with us all moving in the same direction, find what works to fix them.”

The Council on Behavioral Health advises IHA on the needs and requirements of behavioral health facilities. It also studies behavioral health issues and policies.


Rob McLin, FACHE, President/CEO, Good Samaritan, Vincennes

“The council achieved two major accomplishments in 2017. First, we developed recommendations on ways to sustain the Healthy Indiana Plan in the event that the Affordable Care Act was repealed or replaced,” said Chairman Rob McLin, who has been serving on the council for almost 20 years. “Second, we created a Managed Care Committee to strategize and prioritize the managed care issues that members are facing. The goal of the committee is to examine the various issues and come up with recommendations for how to address them. Other accomplishments this year include developing documentation to address proposed legislation and identifying changes in administrative burdens and how they impact hospitals.”

The Council on Finance monitors programs and payment systems of all payers. It also advises on and promotes reimbursement methodologies that enhance IHA members’ financial sustainability.


Donald Fesko, FACHE, CEO, Community Foundation of Northwest Indiana, Munster

“The council offers an opportunity for meaningful discussions with the talented IHA team and other health system leaders about proposed changes in state and federal health care legislation. Establishing a unified approach early in the legislative process leads to better legislation in the end,” said Chairman Donald Fesko. “The council worked closely with IHA staff during the state legislative session in 2017. Some of our major accomplishments included the extension of the hospital assessment fee to 2019; an increase of $5 million over the biennium in the state budget for tobacco prevention and cessation programs; the passage of legislation that limits first-time opioid prescriptions to a seven-day supply; the integration of the Indiana Scheduled Prescription Electronic Collection and Tracking (INSPECT) program into hospital electronic health systems; and the allocation of $5 million to fight addiction.”

The Council on Government Relations helps the IHA Board of Directors develop policy and legislative priorities. It also provides direction for IHA’s own policy development.


Bradford Dykes, FACHE, President, Indiana University Health Bedford Hospital

“The Council on Information Management has only gained in significance in the last decade. Digital technology is embedded in everything we do in health care nowadays,” said Chairman Bradford Dykes. “In the last year, the council identified a number of decision-making tools that will help members glean and use information to improve care, including the CEO Dashboard and ChimeMaps. We also convened representatives from the state’s health information exchanges to encourage more collaborative efforts for data exchange and interoperability. We worked with public entities, including the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, to facilitate the use of Medicaid data to study population health and identify ways hospitals can make an impact. And, of course, we provided education and training to help members maintain awareness of data security. Every day you hear the next story about who got hacked or breached, and we all know we’re vulnerable.”

The Council on Information Management advises IHA on the needs of its members and what data should be collected. The council also keeps IHA up-to-date on data formatting issues, data reporting requirements, and technology for collecting and distributing health information.


Dr. Nancy Kennedy, CMO, Dearborn County Hospital, Lawrenceburg

“The council works closely with IHA’s Indiana Patient Safety Center and the 11 regional patient safety coalitions to identify quality improvement and patient safety needs and recommends programs to support those needs that will have the biggest impact on our patients, hospitals and communities,” Chair Dr. Nancy Kennedy said. “We continue to participate in the American Hospital Association’s Health Research and Educational Trust Hospital Improvement Innovation Network. Part of that work includes the promotion of the UP Campaign, which aims to simplify safe care and streamline interventions. The council also continues to work to reduce infant mortality with support from the Safety PIN (Protecting Indiana’s Newborns) grant that IHA received from the Indiana State Department of Health. Finally, we launched a sepsis awareness campaign last year because identifying sepsis is the highest statewide patient safety priority, and we continued our efforts in 2017 to inform and educate Hoosiers about this deadly complication.”

The Council on Quality and Patient Safety helps IHA address the patient safety issues affecting Indiana hospitals. It also assists IHA in developing positions on federal and state patient safety and quality improvement initiatives.


Thomas Barry Jr., FACHE, President/CEO, Pulaski Memorial Hospital, Winamac

“This year, the council’s focus shifted with all the changes in Washington. We were much more involved in advocacy and policy review,” Chairman Tom Barry said. “We talked about how we would respond if the Affordable Care Act was repealed or replaced and what the first things were we would need to do. We also discussed best practices for dealing with a number of other changes, including changes in guidelines for prescribing and dispensing opioids, changes in supervision policies for outpatient therapeutic issues and changes to health professional shortage area designations. We worked hard to ensure rural hospitals across the state were aware of these issues and had the tools and resources they needed to communicate with their state and federal legislators about them.”

The Council on Rural Health advises IHA on the needs of Indiana patients in rural areas and the hospitals that serve them.


Dr. James Callaghan, President/CEO, Franciscan Health Indianapolis, Mooresville and Carmel

“One of the most important issues the council focused on in 2017 was the workforce shortage. The health care industry is faced with shortages in so many areas, and we discussed building ranks by training staff in different fields so staff can work at the top of their license,” Chairman Dr. James Callaghan said. “We also delivered resources to IHA members related to preventing workplace violence, and we conducted our annual salary survey, which helps our organizations benchmark salary levels. One of our biggest accomplishments was helping IHA launch the new partnership with Ivy Tech, which offers an innovative degree program called Achieve Your Degree that allows employees of participating community businesses to receive a community college education. This program will help members train and retain their staff.”

The Council on Workforce Development advises IHA on issues related to human resource management and development. It also helps develop principles and policy recommendations on medical staff and employee relations.