Hospital CEO Reaffirms Commitment to New Facility


The CEO of Starke Hospital says the new owners of the local facility would prefer to construct a new building on the existing site at the intersection of South Heaton Street and Culver Road. The county owns the land and the building, but Tennessee-based Community Health Systems now owns 80-percent of the hospital. IU Health has retained 20-percent ownership, and a subsidy of CHS is running the day-to-day operations. The name change to simply “Starke Hospital” reflects the shift, and a new branding symbol is in the works. Continue reading

IU Health Announces Leadership Changes

IU HealthIndiana University Health President and CEO Daniel F. Evans, Jr. is retiring. He is relinquishing his role as president but will continue to serve as CEO of the statewide health system until May 1, 2016. IU Health Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Dennis M. Murphy will be promoted to president of the organization, effective immediately. He will take over as CEO in May when Evans retires and will continue to serve as COO until a successor is named. Continue reading

IU Health Urgent Care Facility Available in LifePlex

IUhealthIf you are currently between primary care physicians or need to receive medical attention for any reason there is a local facility available to you. Lisa Jones with IU Health shared the details with WKVI, “We have urgent care in the LifePlex building and we do feel like its a secret that not many know about. It’s not very far from the folks here in Knox and this area, it takes about 20 minutes.” Continue reading

Due Diligence Ongoing in IU Health Starke Affiliation Agreement

IU HealthIU Health LaPorte and Starke Hospitals continues to work through an affiliation phase with Community Health Systems.

The announcement was made in March of this year, but before any agreements can be finalized, due diligence must first be completed. Work to verify information about the hospital group by Community Health systems has been going on for several months.
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Kindergarten Countdown Benefits 20 Students

Kids learned several important skills prior during the Kindergarten Countdown
Kids learned several important skills prior during the Kindergarten Countdown. Photo provided.

The Kindergarten Countdown program held at the Knox Elementary School in June was a success this year.

Twenty children received an early education before they enter Kindergarten this fall. Students who attend preschool often obtain better scores on tests, have better social skills and are more understanding of routines than those who do not attend a preschool program.

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IU Health Welcomes VP of Finance

Kevin Higdon
Kevin Higdon

IU Health LaPorte and Starke Hospitals have a new vice president of finance. Michigan City native Kevin Higdon brings more than 30 years of healthcare finance experience to the job. His resume includes positions at Hyde Park Hospital, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Elkhart Genral Healthcare System and Thorek Memorial Hospital.
Higdon will work closely with other members of the IU Health executive team, boards of directors and physicians to develop and fulfill key finance and growth strategies outlined in the strategic plan for the hospitals.
Higdon graduated from Michigan City Elston High School, where he won the IHSAA’s Charles F. Maas Mental Attitude Award 1976-77. He also holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Indiana University and an Associate of Arts from Southwestern Michigan College and is a Certified Public Accountant.

IU Health Adds Nurse Practitioners


IU Health LaPorte Physicians recently added two new nurse practitioners.

Maureen Panares and Alissa Whittaker are seeing patients in several northern Indiana communities. Nurse practitioners have extensive training and work under the direction of a physician. Maureen Panares, DNP, is an Advanced Practice Nurse with a Doctor of Nursing Practice in Family and Community Health from Rush University. She sees patients at the Sagamore location in LaPorte.

Whittaker recently received a Master of Science in nursing from Indiana University South Bend. She sees patients in Plymouth at Lifeplex and in Walkerton.


IU Health and Community Services of Starke County Hosting Annual Health Fair

Health FairIU Health Starke Hospital and Community Services of Starke County are teaming up once again to host an annual health fair. This year’s event will take place Tuesday, May 13 from 2 until 7 p.m. Central at the Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center in downtown Knox. Community Services of Starke County Executive Director Joan Haugh says it grew out of the Governor’s Council on Aging in Indianapolis and the thought that they could share the same type of educational information with more people by teaming up with the hospital and offering a local event. This is the 13th year of the partnership.

Haugh says May is an ideal time for the health fair, as it is Older Americans Month. She adds it’s open to all ages, including children. This year a free children’s coloring area will be set up to keep youngsters occupied while their parents or other caregivers browse the booths and take part in the various screenings.  Continue reading

IU Health Executive Outlines Physician Recruitment Plan


IU Health is aggressively recruiting primary care physicians in order to keep up with demand in Starke County. Vice President for Strategy Brian Donnelly says there are nine currently practicing here.

“By 2017, four of those nine physicians will have reached age 72. I personally am not aware of any retirements pending. I don’t know that we’ve gotten a firm date from any of these folks. That’s not up to me to decide how long doctors practice, but at least in terms of looking at reality four of the nine physicians will be late in their careers when we get to 2017. This to us looks like a shortage,” Donnelly told the Starke County Commissioners.

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IU Health Starke Hospital Offers Final Free Affordable Care Act Event

Area residents have one final chance to get their questions about the Affordable Care Act answered before Monday’s looming deadline. IU Health Starke Hospital is hosting a free question and answer session today from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. CDT in the conference room. IU Health Exchange Navigators will be able to help people sign up for coverage or answer any questions they may have. Monday is the last day for people without insurance to sign up for coverage in order to avoid paying a penalty during next year’s tax season.

The federal government did grant a reprieve for people who have started an application on the website but can’t complete it by the March 31 deadline. They will be given an extension, although the amount of time was not specified. In order to qualify, the applicant needs to check the blue box on the website indicating an attempt to sign up for coverage by the March 31 deadline.