IBJNews

Q&A

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Les Zwirn, executive director of Better Healthcare for Indiana, talked about his group’s progress on promoting community collaborations to improve health and reduce the cost of care in cities around Indiana. BHI is hosting its third health care summit of Indiana community leaders today at Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis.

IBJ: Better Healthcare for Indiana got going about three years ago to promote community-based health improvement efforts. Give us a status report on how that’s going.

A: There is energy and leadership in various communities around the state [Logansport, Bloomington, Lafayette, etc.] to begin to create collaborations and reach out to people to create big change in health care. The one in Terre Haute is being led by the Chamber [of Commerce] and the business community and it has real traction. AET Corp. is providing leadership through [human resources director] Ken Baker. They believe that no employer is an island, and they believe that they have to be concerned with the health of the entire community, not just their employees, and also they believe they’re at the end of the road with single-employer initiatives like cost shifting, benefits changes or wellness. Those things can only go so far, and they think they’ve gone about as far as they can go.

IBJ: BHI is promoting collaboration among hospitals, doctors and local leaders in government, religion and business. Why is the business community so key to your efforts?

A: We believe that business leadership is essential for the following reasons: One, they’re more entrepreneurial. And that’s critical to this, to think creatively. Number two [is] the realization that unless employers band together, they’re not going to have a big impact. They’re just going to be operating in the narrow, incremental sphere, that maybe, maybe, they’ll keep their [health benefits cost] increases to 6 [percent]-8 percent. They have an untapped potential if they band together to exert influence on local providers and insurers. And they have the standing in the community to provide leadership.

IBJ: How has the new health reform law affected BHI’s local community efforts?

A: The political climate is poisonous. I think it’s cast a pall on local collaboration. It has not been helpful. People need to not focus on what was done in Washington. They need to focus on building trust in their local communities and crossing those lines, and not pay attention to the polarized debate, because it doesn’t help communities. I think people at the local level know they need to move forward. Regardless of where you are politically with regard to health care, whether you like it or don’t like it, that should be argued in Washington. But at the local level, you have to collaborate to make this work.

ADVERTISEMENT

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. "bike lanes, specialized lighting, decorative signage, public art, grass medians, trees and rain gardens" These are all nice things to have, but can we freaking get the hundreds of potholes all over the city fixed first?!?!?!!?!?!

  2. When a criminal with multiple prior convictions serves five days of a one year sentence and later kills a police officer with a weapon illegally in his posession, residents of Boone County need to pay a tax to drive to work... PERFECT Progressive logic.. If, on the other hand, a fund were to be set up to build more prisons and hire more guards to keep the known criminals off the streets, I'd be the first to contribute.

  3. Not a word about how much the taxpayers will be ripped off on this deal. Crime spirals out of control and the the social problems that cause it go unheeded by an administration that does not give a rats behind about the welfare of our citizens. There is no money for police or plowing snow (remember last winter) or or or or, but spend on a sports complex, and the cash flows out of the taxpayers pockets. This city is SICK

  4. Sounds like a competitor just wanted to cause a problem. I would think as long as they are not "selling" the alcohol to the residents it is no different than if I serve wine to dinner guests. With all the violent crime happening I would think they should turn their attention to real criminals. Let these older residents enjoy what pleasures they can. Then again those boozed up residents may pose a danger to society.

  5. Where did the money go from the 2007 Income tax increase for public safety that the Mayor used to stir opposition and win the election and then failed to repeal (although he promised he would when he was running for election)? Where did the money go from the water utility sale? Where did the money go from the parking meter deal? Why does the money have all these funds for TIF deals and redevelopment of Mass avenue, and subsidy for luxury high rises, parking garages in Broad Ripple, and granola chain grocery stores but can not find the money to take care of public safety. Commuters shouldn't have to pay the tax of failed leadership in Marion County by leaders that commuters have no say in electing. Taxation without representation.

ADVERTISEMENT