Innovation and Insight

A number of influential health care leaders attended the annual meeting, including Michael Gargano (left), deputy secretary and chief of staff at the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, and Jim McClelland (right), executive director for drug prevention, treatment, and enforcement for the State of Indiana.

A recap of the 2017 IHA Annual Membership Meeting

In today’s ever-changing health care environment, the idea that anything is sustainable can sound like a dream. At IHA’s 2017 Annual Membership Meeting, attendees discussed ways to turn that dream into reality.

More than 350 health care leaders from across the Hoosier state gathered at the Westin Indianapolis in November to network, strategize, and collaborate on new opportunities. The theme of the meeting—Creating a Culture of Sustainable Innovation—was carried throughout the two-day event.

“We all know that health care has got to change, but we can’t change for change’s sake,” said Bob Brody, senior vice president/COO for ambulatory services at Franciscan Alliance and 2017 IHA chairman. “We have to create true, lasting change through disruption and innovation.”


The speakers at the 2017 IHA Annual Membership Meeting were well-versed on disruption and innovation. On the first day of the conference, Dr. Pritpal S. Tamber, co-founder and CEO of Seattle-based nonprofit Bridging Health & Community, kicked things off by sharing how health systems can intentionally foster agency to improve a community’s health. Political analyst and journalist Hugh Hewitt followed up with a thought-provoking session on the politics of health care.

On the second day, Allison Melangton, senior vice president at Hulman Motorsports Corporation and president of the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee, discussed the role of leadership in innovation, and Ben Nemtin, author and co-star of MTV’s “The Buried Life,” talked about innovation through philanthropy. Finally, John Rossman, former executive at the uber-innovative Amazon, spoke about digital disruption, process efficiencies, and global innovation.


At the Annual Banquet and Awards Ceremony, attendees gathered to celebrate the hard work and dedication of Indiana health care leaders and caregivers. IHA recognized six individuals who have made outstanding personal achievements in support of Indiana hospitals.

Distinguished Service Award Winner: Jim Bickel

The Distinguished Service Award is IHA’s highest honor for a hospital chief executive officer and is given in recognition of an individual’s outstanding achievement and dedication to his or her organization, its patients, its community, and the health care profession. The 2017 recipient was Jim Bickel, president and CEO of Columbus Regional Health.

Bickel joined Columbus Regional Health in 1991 and has served as president and CEO since 2007. He led the hospital through recovery efforts in 2008, when a historic flood shuttered the hospital doors for nearly five months. During those five months, Bickel and his leadership team made the decision to keep all staff on the payroll, which totaled $40 million. During the last 10 years, he has guided the health system through significant transformation and growth. Today, the system includes an acute inpatient care hospital, 20 primary care and specialty practices, several outpatient care locations, and hospice services, resulting in a well-coordinated continuum of care for patients and the community

Douglas J. Leonard Caregiver of the Year Award Winners: Rachel Kartman and Kendra Wood

The Douglas J. Leonard Indiana Caregiver of the Year Award is IHA’s highest honor for a direct caregiver and is given in recognition of exemplary delivery of patient care. The 2017 award was presented to two recipients, Rachel Kartman and Kendra Wood.

Rachel Kartman is a registered diagnostic cardiac sonographer and manager of cardiovascular services at Memorial Hospital of South Bend. In her 27 years at the hospital, Kartman has gone above and beyond for patients and their families. Whether it is praying with a patient, ensuring a patient gets an air conditioner installed at his home, or going Christmas shopping for a family with an infant in the NICU, Kartman demonstrates respect, compassion, and integrity in all her patient interactions.

Kendra Wood is an acute care nurse practitioner at Community Hospital North. Wood is committed to the exceptional patient and family experience. She works to ensure patients and their families understand the plan of care and educates patients throughout their hospital stay so they are well prepared to care for themselves once they are discharged. She has built strong relationships with patients, families, physicians, and staff in her 22 years at Community Hospital North and is known for her professionalism, knowledge, and expertise.

Award of Merit Winner: Dr. Tim Taber

The Award of Merit is presented each year to an individual, other than a hospital CEO, for exemplary service to health care. The 2017 recipient was Dr. Tim Taber.

Dr. Taber is a transplant nephrologist and the medical director of the kidney and pancreas transplant programs at Indiana University Health. He also serves as medical director of the Indiana Donor Network, where he has cared for 842 donors and helped save more than 2,700 lives with the organs recovered from those donors. Among his many accomplishments is the establishment of a paired kidney donation program at IU Health, which helps living recipient/donor pairs who are incompatible with each other find another recipient/donor pair with whom they are a match.

John C. Render Award for Health Care Policy Winner: Sen. Richard Lugar

The John C. Render Award for Health Policy is presented to those individuals who have had a significant influence on health care policy affecting Indiana hospitals. The 2017 recipient was former Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar.

Sen. Lugar’s five-decade political career includes a number of milestone achievements that have significantly improved the health and well-being of Hoosiers. He successfully fought to help rural hospitals receive proper reimbursement, and he was instrumental in addressing the health care personnel shortages that plague rural providers. He continues to be a tremendous champion in advancing rural health today.

Stella Scholarship Recipient: Kassi Koehler Egbert

The Ken and Cindy Stella Scholarship Fund in Health Administration offers financial support to students in the graduate program in health administration at Indiana University. The 2017 recipient was Kassi Koehler Egbert.

Egbert is currently working toward her Master of Health Administration degree at the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health. She received her bachelor’s degree in health services management from IU in 2017. She also serves as a business analyst for IU Health Revenue Cycle Services.

“Thanks to each and every one of you who work to innovate, collaborate, and problem-solve for the sake of Hoosiers across the state,” said IHA President Brian Tabor. “While there is much work to be done, I know that together we will accomplish great things as we strive to make Indiana a healthier, safer place to live.”