IBJNews

New Community Hospital East president pursues care for all

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Profile - Women In Biz

The new president of Community Hospital East says her job is all about health—the health of not just patients, but the entire neighborhood.

That means removing obstacles to better care both inside and outside hospital walls.

Externally, Dr. Robin Ledyard, 49, points to such hospital activities as improving area homes in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity.

“We are not gentrifying the houses, just making them livable,” said Ledyard, who has volunteered with various housing coalitions. Many of the patients served by the 250-bed Community East rely on public funding for their medical care.

She cites the hospital’s support of median beautification along Emerson Avenue, near the hospital, as another example of the type of nontraditional neighborhood outreach she wants to continue. These may seem like small gestures, but they contribute to the overall well-being of a community, which translates to healthy humans, Ledyard said.

Within the hospital, she wants to break down communication barriers among hospital units that may slow the delivery of care to patients. For example, she wants to make sure employees take full advantage of electronic record-sharing among Community Health Network’s five hospitals, 200 primary-care physicians and many specialists.

Ledyard’s approach to her new role isn’t surprising, given her most recent position as medical director of Community Health Network’s community benefit program. In that job, she helped develop the Jane Pauley Community Health Center, which opened last month. Located in Renaissance School near 30th Street and Post Road, an area that is medically under-served, the 1,600-square-foot outreach facility is a cooperative venture between Community and Warren Township schools. TV journalist Jane Pauley graduated from Warren Township High School.

Dr. Robin Ledyard with the new linear accelerator at Community Hospital East. (IBJ Photo/Robin Jerstad)

Hospitals wrestle with, “How can we provide access at all levels?” from the emergency rooms to preventive care, said Ledyard, who thinks the Pauley center is one answer. The primary-care facility is expected to reduce the number of emergency room visits, one of the most expensive ways to treat patients.

Following the money

Controlling expenses is a major challenge for the hospital, whose patient population is unlikely to have health insurance. Sixty-eight percent of Community East’s patients rely on Medicare or Medicaid or pay for their care themselves, compared to 43 percent at Community North and 54 percent at Community South.

Community East has been operating at a deficit (the hospital would not share exact figures) through a long recovery from the loss of its open-heart surgery specialty about six years ago.

“It was the right decision at the time, but it changed the face of the facility,” Ledyard said of the loss. As a result, the hospital has honed its focus on its well-known unit for acute brain injuries and diseases and its Hook Rehabilitation Center and Gallahue Mental Health Center.

Last year, the hospital admitted 9,963 patients, including 610 for its rehab unit. It tallied 207,000 outpatient visits. In spite of its ongoing financial challenges, the hospital has invested $10 million in renovations to its buildings and grounds.

The demographics of the area have changed a lot since the hospital was built in 1956 through a massive fund-raising effort of local residents and businesses. Vice President Richard M. Nixon attended the groundbreaking for the facility, which was among the first in the country to have air-conditioning and oxygen plumbed into the building.

A scientist from the start

Just a few years after the hospital opened, Ledyard was born into a blue-collar family in Shelbyville. She loved science as a child and eventually majored in biology at Indiana University. She had planned to become a research scientist, but the IU School of Medicine recruited her.

Her career has included family medicine, wellness and public health policy and management, as well as teaching at IU and in several hospitals’ medical education departments. Besides her medical degree, Ledyard holds a master’s degree from IU in public health, where she researched school-based wellness centers for her master’s thesis.

The breadth of her career makes her well-suited for her new post at Community East, said Dr. Judith Monroe, Indiana commissioner of health and a longtime mentor to Ledyard.

“She has a great understanding of the challenges facing medicine,” Monroe said. “She lives in the real world.”

Among Ledyard’s strengths are problem-solving and a solid understanding of hospital and health care systems, Monroe added. The two physicians met in the 1990s when they were the state’s only women heading family medicine residency units in hospitals (Monroe was then at St. Vincent Hospital). Together, they published a research paper on perimenopause, the time leading up to menopause.

Ledyard’s volunteer experience has nourished her passion for providing health services to the poor. She is a board member of the Genneserat Free Clinic in Indianapolis and, when living in Michigan, volunteered as the staff physician at two migrant health clinics. Ledyard also founded and directed the Indiana Breastfeeding Task Force Initiative.

Her husband, Dr. Tom Ledyard, is on the faculty of Community Health Network’s family medicine residency program. She has two daughters, ages 20 and 16.

Movements afoot

Because of its relatively poor population, Community East will be especially affected by some population and health care trends, Ledyard said.

She expects there to be more demand for end-of-life care as the population ages, where death and dying “can be discussed openly and honestly. You have to ask how [a patient] feels about death and dying, how you feel about efforts to prolong life. That’s a difficult conversation that requires a relationship between doctor and their patient,” something that is often lacking among people without primary-care physicians, she said.

As an educator, she frets about the paucity of medical school students interested in primary care, which pays less than most other specialties. Only 2 percent of medical school students enter primary-care medicine, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Ledyard is somewhat encouraged by the current conversation on health care reform, especially the focus on delivering high-quality, efficient care in a safe environment. This emphasis relies heavily on primary medical care, something she hopes will elevate its stature among students.

As for her own ongoing education, Ledyard said she will continue to practice medicine. She may sit at the top of the administrative flow chart, but she also wants to know what’s happening on the ground, so she can keep an eye out for any walls that need breaking down.•

 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Need Records (OLD)
    I need to see some old record of mine from gallahue mental health center from back in the 70's is there not some where online that I can sign a release of information and you can fax this info to me immediately as my psychiatrist wants to see it immediately.

    Thanks!

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Uh, sorry Johnnie, but you are incorrect. Despite the assertions by yourself and various defenders and captains, sports attendance is NOT off significantly at most sporting events in the US. Variances in attendance has been in the range of single digits, both + & - for years now. MLB has had most of its best overall attendance nubers in the last decade, and that trend has been consistent for most major sporting events. The number one issue cited by most fans when asked about attendance is the overall cost of attending. The presence of HD and big screen televisions in home doesn't even register, as a factor for not attending an event. VALUE in the product is the key, and apparently is something lacking in the current ICS. What other explanation is there when with what is routinely touted as the "best" racing on the planet, fans are staying away in DROVES. A "close" title battle into the last event at Fontana, with the "cars and stars" of the ICS, and who showed up? MAYBE 8K. Sorry, but HD TV isn't to blame for that kind of fan apathy.

  2. Do you need finance to establish your business ? Are you interested in getting a loan at 3% from our private company? If so please Email: suntrust_oil@blumail.org

  3. If she was worth the $ the public outcry over direct tv dropping them would have kept them on their dishes as we have seen with other companies. I too quit watching channel 13 after she showed up since I left channel 8 because of her all show rather than production results. When Randy on 8 corrected her she had a big head and incorrectly challenged his correction for pronunciation of a city. Other antics while she matures was too much for me with her very inaccurate forecasts. All the forecasters were predicting rain until Thursday except Chris. They predicted sunny on Thursday but instead of rain until Thursday upon which the sun would finally make it out in full glory Chris was right on the money just as I too predicted looking at the radar on weather.gov. One thing I love about Angela is the fear you can see in her every time it thunders in the winter. It far exceeds the entertainment value of her body language (high heel noise drags, depression, etc) when her forecasts are so incorrect. Her hair stands on end, you have to see it!!!

  4. Good Day, Apply For A Loan I am Mr Fernadez Antonio, a private Loan lender and a cooperate financial for real estate and any kinds of business financing. I also offer Loans to individuals, Firms and cooperate bodies at 3% interest rate We offer any kind of loans. email us via fernadezloaninvest@outlook.com LOAN APPLICATION FORM First name:......................... Middle name:......................... Last name:........................................ Date of birth (yyyy-mm-dd):....................... Gender:........................................... Marital status:................................... Total Amount Needed............................... Loan Duration.................................... Address:.......................................... City:............................................. State/province:................................... Zip/postal code:.................................. Country:.......................................... Phone:............................................ Fax:.............................................. Mobile/cellular:.................................. Monthly Income.................................... Occupation:....................................... Best Regard, Mr Fernadez Antonio.

  5. i will love to share my testimony to you all the people in world i got married to my husband about 2 year ago we start having problems at home like we stop sleeping on the same bed,fighting about little things he always comes home late at night,drinking too much and sleeping with other women out side i have never love any man in my life except him. he is the father of my child and i don't want to loose him because we have worked so hard together to become what we are and have today .few month ago he now decided to live me and the kid,being a single mother can be hard sometimes and so i have nobody to turn to and i was heart broken.i called my mom and explain every thing to her,my mother told me about DR.okoro how he helped her solve the problem between her and my dad i was surprise about it because they have been without each other for three and a half years and it was like a miracle how they came back to each other. i was directed to DR. okoro on his email:okorospell@gmail.com and explain everything to him,so he promise me not to worry that he will cast a spell and make things come back to how we where so much in love again and that it was another female spirit that was controlling my husband he told me that my problem will be solved within two days if i believe i said OK So he cast a spell for me and after two days my love came back asking me to forgive him i Am so happy now. so that why i decided to share my experience with every body that have such problem contact Dr okoro the great spell caster on his email addresses spellcasterforlove@outlook.com

ADVERTISEMENT