At IHA, everything we do is guided by our mission: to provide Indiana hospitals with leadership, representation, and support to improve the health of Indiana citizens. But we couldn’t do any of it without the active involvement of our members. Your engagement is crucial to our success, and day after day, year after year, you continue to step up and demonstrate your commitment to IHA and to Indiana health care.
From attending our district meetings to serving on the IHA Board of Directors, you seek out ways to become engaged with the IHA staff and one another. You provide feedback as we work to improve the delivery of care. And you respond when we ask you to join forces in support of Hoosier health.
More than 400 of you gathered at the IHA Annual Membership Meeting in September to learn how you can work together to shape the future of Indiana health care. This was one of our most successful meetings in recent memory, and I want to recognize our wonderful staff for developing a strong program.
While we heard many inspiring stories of caregiving and innovation, it’s clear that Indiana is at a crossroads when it comes to public health. Many of the sessions at our annual meeting focused on opioid abuse, and for good reason. We rank 34th in the nation in drug deaths, with 17.9 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017 compared to the national rate of 16 deaths per 100,000 people.
But it’s not just about opioids. In this issue, you’ll read about Indiana’s efforts to reduce infant mortality. You’ll discover how hospitals are working to prevent suicide in their communities. And you’ll learn why we continue to support raising the cigarette tax—a solution that would both reduce Indiana’s high smoking rate and provide financial relief to hospitals.
Indiana legislators will return to the Statehouse in January, and there’s much work to be done in the meantime. Your representatives need to hear how Indiana’s poor health is impacting your hospital and your community. Just as important, they need to know that something can be done to improve our state’s health, and they are the ones who must act. Solutions like raising the cigarette tax would have a powerful impact on future generations and must be enacted if Indiana is to continue to grow and prosper.
I thank each and every one of you for your continued involvement, and I encourage you to become engaged during the 2019 legislative session. Please reach out to any member of our advocacy team for advice on how your hospital can join the fight to improve Hoosier health.