Staying Healthy During the Holidays

The holiday season is a time for family and friends to gather, celebrate life, continue tradition and reflect on what is important. It is also important to appreciate the gift of health. Here are a few tips to promote good health during the holiday season.

Focus on fun, not food. Indulge only on the most special holiday treats. You can skip everyday items like store bought cookies and enjoy a piece of homemade pumpkin pie. Also, plan ahead and stock the freezer with healthy meals so you can spend more time with family and friends and less time worrying about prepping nutritious meals.

It’s tempting to ditch your workouts as your days fill up with holiday preparations, parties, errands and shopping. Now, more than ever, it is important to stay active. Being more active as a family is a terrific way to burn the calories and spend time with the ones you love. If you normally walk 30 minutes each day, stretch your goal to 45 minutes. Although the weather might be cold outside, bundle up and try something new – ice skating, sledding and skiing are all great activities to keep you moving.

Brighten your holidays by making your health and safety a priority this season.

by Shalimar Valasek, WIC Nutritionist


MDWise and Walmart donate bike for CHCJC Annex grand opening

On Tuesday, June 14, Community Health Center of Jackson County Annex will celebrate its grand opening with an open house.  Please click here for more information about the open house.

As a part of this celebration, we will be giving away two brand new bikes!  MDWise and Walmart have been gracious enough to donate these bikes to our community event.  We would like to say THANK YOU to MDWise and Walmart for their donations and for supporting our mission.  We would also like to thank Luvia Hesser, Outreach Enrollment Assistant, for her efforts in securing these donations.  We hope to see you at our open house on June 14!



bike1  bike2 




WIC hosts annual Mother’s Day tea

WIC, in collaboration with the North Central Breastfeeding Coalition, presented the Second Annual Mother’s Day Tea on Tuesday, May 3rd, at the United Way building in Kokomo.  Over 15 children and babies and 23 mothers attended the event.  Tea and light refreshments were served.  Prior to the Tea, several of the mothers attending were photographed in various locations.  All of these moms were breastfeeding their babies or toddlers.  A local photographer put together a beautiful array of these photos.  The book of photos was “unveiled” at the Tea.  The mothers all had a nice time chatting with each other and admiring their photos.  Thanks to all IHC WIC staff who worked hard to make this collaborative event a great success!


 WIC photo table   WIC book presentation  WIC photo stage 



IHC’s Partnership with Oaklawn Featured in The Elkhart Truth

In February 2016, IHC expanded our partnership with Oaklawn, an organization that serves the community by providing mental health and addiction treatment services for children, adolescents and older adults.  A pediatric clinic, serving Oaklawn patients up to 17 years of age, serves patients at Oaklawn’s South Bend location at 415 E. Madison St.


Click here to view an article written for the Elkhart Truth that highlights this new integrated health initiative, including an interview with Ekom Essien, PNP at IHC South Bend.


We are very proud of our work with Oaklawn, and of the staff who make it possible!

WIC Site Tops State in Breastfeeding Initiation Rates!

Most of us know breastfeeding has an extraordinary range of benefits. For the baby, benefits include antibodies from the mother, proper growth of the mouth and jaw, and lower risk of chronic conditions later in life.  For the mother, benefits include decreased obesity rates, less cardiovascular disease, and less breast and reproductive cancers. 

 One of WIC’s goals is to educate mothers on the important benefits of breastfeeding, and to support the mother in beginning and continuing to breastfeed her child.  IHC’s Women, Infant, Children (WIC) sites strive to promote breastfeeding.  The Hamilton County WIC program in Noblesville went above and beyond, with one of the highest initiation rates in the state of Indiana.  This exceeds the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotions 2020 Healthy People Objective.  The Cass County WIC program, located in Logansport, saw an impressive increase in breastfeeding initiation rates as well.

We are very proud of the efforts made in each and every WIC office!  Our WIC staff is mission-focused and we appreciate them!

Hamilton County WIC to host Baby & Me Tobacco Free classes

Indiana Health Centers, Inc. is proud to announce that our WIC site in Noblesville, Hamilton County WIC, will be hosting Baby & Me Tobacco Free classes.  Below is a press release explaining this exciting new partnership!

Holly Wheeler  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11/13/15

Partnership for a Healthy Hamilton County



Hamilton County WIC to host Baby & Me Tobacco Free classes


Noblesville, Indiana – Hamilton County Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Partnership for a Healthy Hamilton County (PHHC) and Healthy Communities of Clinton County (HCCC) have partnered to offer Baby & Me Tobacco Free (BMTF) a program funded by the Indiana State Department of Health to assist pregnant women in smoking cessation. Participants who complete four classes and remain smoke-free are eligible for $25 in diaper vouchers for up to 12 months. They do not have to be WIC clients to participate.


“We are excited about this opportunity to assist pregnant women who smoke and their unborn babies,” said Sharon Barrett, director of Indiana Health Centers Hamilton County WIC program. “Smoking while pregnant increases the likelihood of low birth weight, preterm delivery and decreased respiratory function. This program fits with WIC’s mission to help women deliver healthy babies by educating them about proper nutrition and self-care, and keep their babies healthy after delivery by offering breastfeeding classes and checkups.”


Components of the Baby & Me Tobacco Free program are a commitment to become a non-smoker while pregnant and after delivery, program enrollment, attendance at four prenatal smoking cessation classes which include education about Indiana’s Tobacco Quitline, 1-800-QuitNow, and passing a breath test for up to 12 months after the baby is born. Successful participants receive $25 in diaper vouchers monthly, which are redeemable at CVS Pharmacy and Walmart. Women who deliver twins or multiples are eligible for vouchers in the same amount for each child. Classes are held the first Tuesday of the month, 10:30 a.m., and the second Thursday of the month, 1 p.m., at the Hamilton County Service Center, 942 North 10th Street, Noblesville, which is where the WIC Program is located also.  A classroom space was graciously donated, for use, by the owner and landlord, Senator Luke Kenley.  Those with questions or who are interested in registering can call 765-659-6063.


The classes came to Hamilton County through a partnership between HCCC and PHHC. Both counties hold ISDH Tobacco Prevention & Cessation grant funding, which promotes Indiana’s Tobacco Quitline, 1-800-QuitNow. HCCC also has grant funding for Baby & Me Tobacco Free and is encouraged to share the program with surrounding counties.


“As counties we share the same goals of smoking cessation and Quitline promotion, and offering BMTF furthers both of those goals in a targeted, high-risk group,” said Kathy Martin, tobacco prevention and cessation coordinator and BMTF administrator for HCCC, who will teach the classes. “We want all babies to be born healthy and on time and are happy to collaborate in order to do so.”


“BMTF broadens PHHC’s reach in a critical component of its tobacco prevention and cessation program by offering cessation services to a population in which smoking endangers not just one, but two, people,” said Holly Wheeler, assistant director, PHHC, and interim tobacco prevention and cessation coordinator for the county. “It’s all about decreasing smoking rates, and helping pregnant moms and their babies do so just makes sense. WIC was a natural choice for collaboration because of its commitment to keeping pregnant mothers healthy and the relationships it builds with its clients.”


The BMTF program is available to other residents and caregivers to whom the pregnant mother and baby will be exposed before and after delivery. The child’s father or other regular caregiver, such as a grandparent, who complete BMTF classes, quit smoking and pass monthly breath tests, also are eligible for monthly $25 diaper vouchers.


All BMTF participants are encouraged to use Indiana’s free, phone-based tobacco cessation service, 1-800-QuitNow. Further information about the service can be found at




The Partnership for a Healthy Hamilton County was created to respond to the county’s primary health needs as identified by a Community Health Needs Assessment, an Internal Revenue Service requirement for not-for-profit hospitals ( Community Health Network, IU Health, St. Vincent Health and Franciscan St. Francis Health collaborated to complete the assessment, which included resident surveys and data collection that measured the effectiveness of current programs and determined outreach to address shortfalls. Aspire Indiana of Carmel and Noblesville, the Hamilton County Youth Assistance Program, the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, Westlink Consulting and Good Samaritan Network of Hamilton County also are represented on the partnership’s council. For further information, log onto, Facebook or Twitter.

IHC Kokomo and WIC provide outreach at Farmer’s Market

Farmers Market2 Farmers Market3
 Farmers Market1

Lora Burke-Mulkey, Maria Leija, and Robyn Bell, of IHC Kokomo and WIC, attended the Kokomo Farmer’s Market this summer to provide outreach and education to the community.  WIC partnered with North Central Breastfeeding Coalition for the event.

Staff decorated their tent with a “summer” theme, including a raffle, beach balls, bracelets, and shopping bags.  They also talked to community members about IHC and WIC, and made referrals to the many services we have to offer at IHC Kokomo.

Many thanks to Lora, Maria, and Robyn for providing this worthwhile outreach to the community we serve.  Look for IHC next summer at the Kokomo Farmer’s Market!

WIC hosts Mother’s tea party

On Tuesday, May 5, our WIC site (part of IHC Kokomo) hosted a Tea Party to celebrate mothers.  All prenatal and new moms in WIC, mothers’ groups at area hospitals, breastfeeding coalition, and others were invited to attend.

WIC tea 1  WIC tea 2 

Special thanks to our WIC staff, especially Robyn Bell and Linda Soots-Bowley, as well as Julie Morgan from St. Joseph Hospital,  Becky Ashenfelter from Bona Vista, Maria Yeager from Healthy Families, as well as breastfeeding coalition members for all of their hard work in collaborating to plan this event.


Health center staff contributes to IHC’s book drive

Over the past few months, Indiana Health Centers, Inc. staff across multiple locations have come together with a common goal: to provide quality children’s books to our patients and their families in an effort to stimulate reading skills in our at-risk populations.

Our reading initiative is two-fold: first, we want to develop waiting room “libraries” at each of our clinic sites so that families can use their wait time to read together.  To achieve this, we are accepting donations of new or gently-used children’s books at each of our locations.  The second part of our plan is a collaboration with our physicians, who will provide an age-appropriate children’s book to children and their parents during well-child visits.  These books will be purchased by IHC, and we are accepting monetary donations to purchase them.  If you’re interested in making a donation to a very worthy cause, please click here.  Just write “Reading” in the box titled “Reason for Donation.”  For more information about this program please contact Kelly Rochford.

Special thanks to Lora Burke-Mulkey, WIC Program Manager, and Nemramy D’Agostino, Outreach Enrollment Assistant (both pictured below), who helped spearhead this project at IHC Kokomo.  This is a lofty goal, and we couldn’t do it without our dedicated, mission-focused employees!


 L Burke book donations  Nemy bookcase  L Burke book donations2




Indiana Health Center Kokomo honors Veterans

On Tuesday, November 11, 2014, Indiana Health Center Kokomo celebrated Veteran’s Day.  Staff volunteered to decorate the clinic’s lobby and greet patients as they came in to the clinic.  Veterans were greeted with a special ribbon and a thank you.  Children were given educational coloring sheets, which explained the importance of Veteran’s Day.

“We had a great response from the patients,” WIC Program Manager Lora Burke-Mulkey described.  “Some of them of course are vets and as we talked with them and gave them a ribbon we thanked them for their service.  A couple of them even got teary eyed.  It was a great experience.”

Many thanks to Lora and her staff, including Mark Lamp and Linda Soots-Bowley (pictured below).  Thanks to all veterans for keeping our country safe!

veterans day1 veterans day 2
veterans day 3

veterans day4


IHC’s Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) efforts featured in AIR article

Below is an article published by the American Institute of Research (AIR), detailing IHC’s PCMH efforts thus far. Many thanks to ALL of our IHC staff who have been instrumental in the PCMH process. We are proud of this accomplishment! 

Engaged Leadership and Staff Buy-In Are Key to Indiana Health Center’s Success

 The Essence of PCMH In Practice

 The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model is designed to give the patient an active role in managing their health care and provide a high quality of care while reducing overall cost. Elvin Plank, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Indiana Health Centers (IHC), shared a story that he feels represents the essence of this concept and the potential impact PCMH could have on a very strained health care system. A consumer member of the IHC board of directors has also been a patient at the Kokomo Health Center for the past 6 years. Prior to becoming a recipient of services at Kokomo, he had been a regular patient and a “frequent flier” in the local emergency room (ER), suffering from symptoms that seemed to get progressively worse over time. He had no health insurance, lacked resources, and felt he couldn’t afford to go anywhere else. After several ER visits precipitated by painful symptoms, the patient was diagnosed with a chronic illness affecting his immune system. “I didn’t know what this was or if I was going to live two months, eight months or another year,” the patient said. He continued to frequent the ER for episodic care, where he’d receive multiple prescriptions he couldn’t afford to fill and complex instructions which he couldn’t follow. Within a short time, he would end up back in the ER with a recurrence of symptoms, so the cycle continued.

 Finally, he was referred to the Kokomo Health Center for primary care services and help with managing his illness. He made the appointment and that’s when he learned that, although his condition could not be cured, it could be managed with coordinated health care that included preventive visits with the medical team, affordable medications, and clear and simple instructions for managing his own treatment. The patient participated in the development of his plan of care with the team, learned more about his illness, including how to prevent recurrences of symptoms and ways to manage it. The team educated him on the importance of working together to manage his care. He said, “I feel so much better, they help me get my medications, and I just feel really good.”

 For the past 6 years, this proud board member has been going to the Kokomo Health Center and has not returned to the ER. The cycle was broken when he became centrally involved with, and knowledgeable about, his own heath and treatment, with support from a strong team of professionals. This is the essence of the patient-centered medical home. “That personifies what we’re all about,” said Plank. “That personifies our mission.” This story has been shared many times, including on Capitol Hill, and it speaks to health care in a very personal way.


 Indiana Health Centers, Inc. was founded in 1977 to provide primary health care to migrant farm workers and their families. Today IHC serves the residents of Indiana including three distinct population groups; agricultural workers in the State of Indiana; low-income residents of St. Joseph, Howard, Cass, Grant, Miami, and Jackson Counties, and the homeless population in the city of South Bend. In the 1990s, Indiana saw a decrease in the migrant worker population, which led IHC to launch a migrant van program to ensure it continued to care for those patients who depend on IHC. This complex and diverse patient population is ideally suited for a population health approach, making becoming a PCMH a logical step in IHC’s practice transformation process.

 Strategies for Becoming a Patient-Centered Medical Home

 Start With a Team

 IHC is committed to providing high-quality patient health care and found that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Advanced Primary Care Practice (APCP) demonstration aligned precisely with its mission and vision. The CEO joined IHC in the spring of 2013 and immediately began assembling the PCMH team. Despite starting its practice transformation efforts later than other sites, IHC was able to put together an outstanding team including the chief executive officer (CEO), chief operating officer (COO), deputy COO, chief financial officer (CFO), chief medical officer (CMO), chief compliance and quality officer (CCQO), practice managers from all of their practice sites, and other frontline team leaders. The team began rapidly working on practice transformation and was able to meet the first CMS benchmark in November 2013. IHC has maintained this level of intensity, continuing to set and meet intermediate goals; they submitted for Level 3 Recognition in early August 2014.

 Leadership Engagement

 Most notable about IHC is its leadership team. Leadership engagement is essential to the journey to Level 3 Recognition and IHC has a strong leadership base. IHC leaders are engaged and committed champions for this transformational journey. CEO Elvin Plank believes in the work and feels that IHC is “doing the right thing for the right reason.” Engaged leaders understand that this is a team effort, and requires involvement and input from staff at every level. They ensure that there is staff involvement and feedback, noting that staff engagement mirrors that of the leadership. “The most important thing we have is this amazing group because they’re all so committed to the PCMH and the APCP demonstration process,” said Nicole Meyer, CCQO.


 IHC’s commitment extends beyond the demonstration and is incorporated into the strategic and financial plans for the organization, which include key elements for long-term sustainability of the PCMH model of care. A tangible demonstration of this commitment is the profit sharing plan built on quality indicators created by CEO Plank. This plan provides rewards to staff for achievements, including meeting patient care quality goals, and serves to motivate everyone to continue to improve. Plank states that their profit-sharing plan ties quality to performance, not productivity. The team believes success is the result of the team, and it should be the team who shares in that success. The profit-sharing plan includes all staff and is based on quality indicators identified by the team. This in conjunction with the staff and leadership commitment will lead to sustainability of the progress made beyond the end of the demonstration and well into the future.

 Electronic Health Record

 One key to enhancing performance was training staff in the most effective use of the electronic health record (EHR). Additionally, the decision to purchase the Care Coordination Medical Record (CCMR) module, a care management tool that interfaces with the EHR, turned out to be a wise and necessary investment. CCMR improved efficiency in documentation and decreased redundancy. “We were glad when CCMR was brought on board because it satisfied several things for PCMH, so we didn’t have to repeat things in different places,” said Nurse Manager Angie Turnpaugh. It also made getting staff buy-in a little easier. “Once we explained why we wanted to do this and everyone could see the results, the providers absolutely loved it,” said Shannon Bates, practice manager for Cass and Miami counties. This module improved coordination of care and allowed the team to track progress in the EHR. Initially there were some issues with the interface for the CCMR module and the EHR. “When CCMR wasn’t working with the EHR, our IT staff spent several weeks working on the issue and preparing to go live resulting in a very successful upgrade,” said Meyer. The EHR upgrade was a major undertaking for the center and involved all staff and leadership.

 Staff Engagement and Buy-In

 Getting team buy-in was important. “The staff had to understand why we were doing PCMH,” Meyer said. “Convincing the staff that it was the right thing to do was critical.” Each provider had a certified medical assistant (CMA) and a team nurse who collected information and completed most of the data input, which increased productivity and also ensured staff received credit for the work done. Placing tasks with the appropriate staff member led to more efficiency in the care provided. The staff was involved with decisions related to PCMH and practice transformation and their feedback was incorporated into any changes made.

 Effective and Efficient Communication

 To improve communication, the sites had daily huddles, “which we’ve learned can kill 14 birds with one stone,” Turnpaugh said. The huddles improved flow of information and highlighted critical needs for the patients scheduled to be seen on a given day. The teams discussed plans to ensure patients received all needed services while in the center. The front desk staff was incorporated into the teams to ensure patient flow is maintained from the point of entry to discharge. There is a CMA responsible for completing prescreening for all teams and reviewing preventive care indicators and other pertinent information in preparation for the patient visit. This information is flagged in the EHR for the team and the issue is addressed during the visit, supporting the continuum of care.

 Comprehensive and Seamless Service Coordination

 IHC also strives to improve care coordination by providing a “seamless array of services,” said COO Jose Perez. If a patient is due for a particular procedure, or has never had dental services, or requires any other cross-discipline assistance, that person is literally walked from one exam room to another. “If a child comes in for any reason and it’s noted that he has never seen a dentist, we walk him right over and sit him in the dentist’s chair,” Perez said. “A warm handoff is the most effective handoff.” This “warm handoff” requires flexibility in scheduling so that the needs of the patient can be met in a timely fashion. IHC has created a patient-centered culture that facilitates this practice.

 Quality Focus

 With positive patient outcomes being at the heart of the PCMH approach, “making operations and quality work together has been absolutely key,” said Plank. “We’ve only been at this for a year. Having the right people in the right place doing the job well is critical. Having quality improvement and operations working hand-in-glove means process improvement, and that moves everything forward. Our three aims are improving the health of the population, improving the patient experience, and doing all of that at lesser cost,” said Plank. For patients like the IHC board member profiled earlier, this commitment to quality care will keep him, and IHC’s other patients, coming back to the Kokomo center and the other centers that are part of the IHC.

 Effective Use of Technical Assistance Resources

 Among the lessons learned for IHC in terms of the APCP demonstration project is that “it required a lot of change in a short period of time,” said Meyer. IHC worked with technical assistance (TA) resources provided by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) including the AIR TA Liaison, the Indiana Primary Health Care Association (PCA) coach Carla Chance, and Susan Crocetti from Qualis Health, to tackle the goal of achieving recognition. IHC started the practice transformation well into the project timeline, noting the partnership with their Qualis Health representative and their PCA coach provided the support they needed to attempt this daunting task in a short period of time. TA included reviewing documentation, providing coaching strategies and on-demand learning resources, interpreting the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) standards, and incorporating PCMH concepts in a manner that was meaningful and in line with IHC’s overall mission of providing high-quality patient care.

 Challenges and Lessons Learned

 Challenging population and environment

 Like all health centers, IHC operates in challenging environments. Its South Bend and Kokomo centers are the largest and least rural, while the others—in Logansport, Marion, Peru, and Seymour—serve rural areas across multiple counties, where patients must often travel long distances to seek care. There is a sizeable homeless population, a “huge number” of migrant farm workers and their families, some of whom live in camps, and a growing immigrant population. This requires IHC to find creative ways to ensure patients have access to the services they provide. IHC is committed to providing high-quality care to its patients and using resources, such as the mobile van for the migrant workers, to achieve its goal.


 In terms of sustainability, “Some pressure needs to be put on increased reimbursement,” said Kokomo Site Medical Director Dr. Lenny Philip. Care management is not reimbursable, and much of the work involved with PCMH is related to care management. Funding from the APCP demonstration has supported some of the work but more funding is needed. Even when the demonstration project is over, no staff positions will be cut, included those in quality improvement, said Plank. “We’ll get grants or figure out other ways to keep patient care at the highest quality.” The team is committed to continuing the work and sustaining the gains made through other funding sources.

 In summary, the initial startup of the PCMH process was very chaotic for the team, but this was improved with the use of internal resources and the AIR TA resources provided by the APCP demonstration. Leadership engagement set the stage for the team, and continued leadership support is required to stay the course. This led to staff buy-in particularly when processes and policies changed the work environment and the front line team was impacted. Supportive leadership continues to work with the team to gather its feedback and incorporate it into the changes made and ensure communication remains fluid. Finally, dedicated staff members are essential to sustainability. Positions at IHC are supported by some of the APCP incentive funds, but these positions are factored into the overall budget to ensure the work remains sustainable in the future. The major objective is to ensure that the patients see and feel the impact of the team’s efforts in the experience they have each time they enter an IHC center. IHC applied for Level 3 Recognition in August 2014 for all four sites in the demonstration.

IHC South Bend honored with Employer Recognition Award from National College

IHC South Bend was recently honored by National College with a Distinguished Community Employer Award.  This award recognizes IHC’s years of hosting Medical Assistant externs at our South Bend clinic site. 

David Chapman, Practice Manager at IHC South Bend, is pictured here with Tina Bonne, Campus Director at National College.  Special thanks to David and the South Bend staff who keep this valuable partnership in place!

national college

WIC Program World Breastfeeding Week Celebrations


awards table for breastfeeding moms breastfeeding bulletin board
 Awards table for breastfeeding moms Bulletin board featuring famous breastfeeding moms
breastfeeding week gift table 
 Gift table with donated gifts for WIC clients

Indiana Health Center’s WIC  Program hosted several special events for World Breastfeeding Week, August 18th to 15th.  There were events at Kokomo, Logansport, Marion, Noblesville, and Frankfort.  Lora Burke-Mulkey, WIC Program Manager, shared the following about these celebrations:

The theme was “Breastfeeding: a ‘Reel’ Life Experience.”

WIC staff decorated with a Hollywood flair, with red, gold and black decorations.  Our moms were greeted as they walked down a “Red Carpet”.  There was a back drop for photographs, complete with hats, boas and gloves.   All the photographs were taken by a professional photographer who donated her services.  The mothers who attended will be sent her own photograph to commemorate the event!  Refreshments were served that had been donated by Panera, McDonalds, Subway, and staff members.  The Frankfort clinic also served ice cream that was donated by staff.  There were gold trophy “awards” to give to our moms who have nursed longer than six months, as well as door prizes and gifts for the attendees, all donated. 

The WIC program is often misperceived as a “formula” program.  In reality, though, WIC promotes, teaches, supports, and believes in breastfeeding, which benefits mother/baby health.

Special thanks to Lora and the entire WIC staff for all of their donations and hard work that made World Breastfeeding Week a great success!  Click here to learn more about IHC’s WIC program.

IHC’s Project Homecoming featured on WNDU for Health Center Week celebration


Last week, each IHC site celebrated National Health Center Week.  IHC’s Project Homecoming, which provides quality healthcare to the homeless population in South Bend, organized a special celebration on Wednesday, the day recognized by NACHC as Healthcare for the Homeless Day.  Project Homecoming organized a bike giveaway, coordinated a mobile unit to provide mammograms, and served snacks to the local community.

WNDU’s Kate Chapel spoke with Project Homecoming’s Jennifer Carapia, NP, as well as Rosie Miller, Case Manager, about the services they offer to this vulnerable population.  See the interview here:

Many thanks to the entire Project Homecoming staff, who worked tirelessly to make this celebration a great success.  We are proud to have you as a part of our IHC team.  You make a difference!


IHC teams up with Oaklawn to serve the South Bend community

Oaklawn team

The Oaklawn team (left to right): David Chapman, Caitlin Krouse, Patrick Barnes, Kimberly Levy, Cindy Shultz, and Kayla Goslee

Indiana Health Center South Bend has recently joined forces with Oaklawn for an exciting new collaborative to help the community of South Bend.  Caitlin Krouse, Family Nurse Practitioner, has been an integral part of this new program.  Caitlin shared the following information with us:

Indiana Health Centers in South Bend has some exciting news to share! We have started a new clinic in our area to provide primary care serves for those living with severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI). The clinic is in conjunction with Oaklawn, an organization that provides mental health and addiction treatment for patients in Michiana. This partnership between Oaklawn and IHC began with a grant from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that focuses on getting people with SPMI connected to primary care to promote health and wellness.

The need for this grant stemmed from a serious problem: people with SPMI die earlier than the average population, as much as 25 years according to some studies, and they are often affected by chronic medical illnesses that go untreated or undertreated. The solution to this problem is integrated care, which offers a team-based approach to providing both medical and mental health care services for this population. Therefore, staff from both Oaklawn and IHC have come together to form a team that includes a provider, certified medical assistant, two health-care advocates, transportation staff, and more. In just eight months, we have already seen nearly 100 patients and many more are on a wait-list to get enrolled!

For more information about this program, please contact Cindy Schultz (574-283-1234 x9033) or Matthew Reese (574-283-1234 x 9488).

Many thanks to Caitlin and the rest of the Oaklawn team for all of their hard work to put this program in place!  We appreciate you!

Community Health Center of Miami County Open House

On Saturday, June 14, 2014, we celebrated Community Health Center of Miami County with a community OPEN HOUSE!  CHCMC staff did a great job planning this fun event to celebrate our new location and new medical providers, Dr. Zohair Mapara and Debra Graber, NP.  IHC staff served pizza and refreshments, and community members were able to tour the new CHCMC facility located at 661 E. Main St. in Peru.  Children enjoyed a bounce house and games, and our grand opening became “official” with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

serving socializing
bouncehouse ribboncutting1

We would like to say a special THANK YOU to all of our dedicated staff members who helped make this open house a success, and to all who traveled from near and far to attend! 

Click here to contact Community Health Center of Miami County.

IHC Kokomo honored with MDWise’s Star Performer Award

We are proud to announce that Indiana Health Center Kokomo recently received a Star Performer Award from MDWise!  MDWise is a local nonprofit health insurance company that shares IHC’s mission to serve the underserved and uninsured populations of Indiana.  The organization selected IHC Kokomo, along with other sites throughout the state, based on characteristics such as achievement of specific clinical outcomes and patient outreach.  When asked about the award, Dr. Leny Philip, Site Medical Director, said it best:

“Our practice is organized around the patient – communication is based on trust, respect, and shared decision-making.  Patients want access to personalized, coordinated, and comprehensive primary care when they need it, when it’s convenient for them.  They also want convenient access to practice information.  It is a remarkable achievement for the exceptional care we are providing our patients.  This is not possible without the help of our Executive Leadership Team and all of our staff in the health center.”  

A remarkable achievement, indeed!  Special thanks to our patients, board members, and staff who have worked together to make this award possible.  Congratulations IHC Kokomo!

mdwise star performer staffIHC Kokomo’s staff celebrates after receiving
the Star Performer Award


mdwise star performer

Mark Fritz, Practice Manager, and Dr. Leny Philip,
Site Medical Director, accept the Star Performer
Award from Laura Trainor of MDWise.

Click here to read Kokomo Perspective’s article describing this award.

Click here for MDWise’s Star Performers site.

IHC earns Level 1 Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) recognition

Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) recognition is a certification through the National Center for Quality Assurance (NCQA).  This initiative emphasizes team-based healthcare, and focuses on coordinating care to improve the patient experience.  The PCMH certification process includes several levels of recognition, which are scored on specific standards such as tracking care, measuring performance, and providing community resources.

At IHC, we have been going through the process to become recognized as a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) at four of our locations: Cass County Community Health Center, IHC Kokomo, Community Health Center of Jackson County, and IHC South Bend.  To be recognized as a PCMH, the IHC team has been working together to ensure that sites meet the rigid standards set forth by the NCQA.  IHC was required to submit a readiness assessment survey to NCQA on November 1, 2013, and we are pleased to announce that IHC earned enough points at all four sites for Level One recognition.  Thanks to everyone at IHC who has worked diligently to complete each important step in this process!

blank clipboard with modern stethoscope, space for messages

Community Health Center of Miami County moves to new location

The Miami County Health Center opened in June 2009 at 1694 W Logansport Road in Peru, Indiana.  This center is one of six IHC sites providing primary medical care to the residents of Miami and surrounding counties.  The demand for primary care has outgrown the facility.  To better serve our patients’ needs, we have been looking for a space that is larger and in more of a downtown location.

Fortunately such space became available toward the end of 2013 at 661 East Main Street in Peru.  On January 6, 2014, Indiana Health Centers opened for business at this new location.  The staff is very excited with the new location and the larger size of the space they have to see patients.  The patients have also expressed their excitement and appreciation for the larger space and new location.  Special thanks to our Peru clinic staff for their hard work during this relocation.  We look forward to seeing you there!

New Picture (2) New Picture (1) New Picture (3)

 Clinic Receptionists Anjel Cannon and Nikki Manning hard at work at the new Peru clinic.

PPACA changes lead to opportunities at IHC

Indiana Health Centers, Inc. was recently awarded a Federally-funded grant to support community education surrounding PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) healthcare changes. As a result, IHC has hired Bilingual Outreach Enrollment Assistants (OEAs) at each of our clinic sites. Our OEAs work in our clinics and throughout their communities to education consumers on the new healthcare changes effective October 1, 2013. Each OEA holds two certifications – Certified Application Counselor through the Federal government, and Indiana Navigator Certification through the state.


Josette Deluna, Outreach Enrollment Assistant at IHC Marion, says that she tries to help people understand the truth behind PPACA. “A lot of people don’t have the correct information,” she explains. “They are going off of what they see on TV and what people tell them, so I try to answer their questions based on what the new law actually says.” Josette has assisted consumers at town hall meetings and community events, as well as at the clinic in Marion. After meeting with consumers, “I feel a little better that they feel better about the Marketplace,” Josette says.

Outreach Enrollment Assistants help consumers make decisions based on their personal healthcare coverage options. They answer questions about issues such as the differences between Medicaid and the Marketplace and the distinguishing characteristics of each plan level (Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum). They are local experts, helping citizens navigate the sometimes confusing path to affordable healthcare through PPACA. If you are interested in more information about their options in the newly formed Healthcare Exchanges, please call one of our sites to make an appointment with an OEA. Even if you’re not currently an IHC patient, our OEAs will be able to assist you.

In July, CNN journalist Jen Christensen spoke with IHC’s CEO, Elvin Plank, as well as South Bend consumer board member Earl Lane, about IHC’s services related to PPACA. Below is a link to that article.

Indiana Health Centers, Inc. Celebrates Health Center Week

 To celebrate National Health Center Week, August 11-17, 2013, many of our clinic sites organized celebrations for their patients. At IHC Kokomo, staff members pitched in to show our patients how much we appreciate them. Complete with decorations, food, and toys, staff members enthusiastically greeted patients throughout the day. Local news representatives met with the Kokomo management team, describing services the clinic offers to patients of all ages. Case Manager Maria Leija spoke about the importance of bilingual employees who help our Spanish-speaking patients. Perinatal Case Manager Ann Leach described the OB services offered at the clinic, and Program Nurse Angela Turnpaugh talked about her hardworking staff. “I’m very blessed to work here,” she said. “The team environment here is amazing.”


angie t2 Angela Turnpaugh, RN, Program Nurse at IHC Kokomo

health center sign


Board members were also invited to take part in the celebration. One particular consumer board member has been a patient at IHC Kokomo for twenty-three years, and is serving his first year on the Kokomo Community Involvement Committee (CIC). After finding out he was chronically ill, he discovered that IHC Kokomo would provide quality healthcare he could afford. He has been a patient ever since, as well as an advocate for IHC in the Kokomo community. “IHC saved my life,” he said. “I know what you could do for others in Kokomo. People are walking around very sick, and they don’t know how important healthcare is. I wish I could show them how much IHC has done for me.”

Our consumer board members make up the majority of our Community Involvement Committees (CIC’s) and Board of Directors, providing vital first-hand perspectives on what our communities need. Community Involvement Committees and the Board of Directors meet monthly to discuss a variety of crucial issues and guide the organization. These groups make certain that IHC staff continues to work diligently toward our mission to serve those who might not otherwise receive quality healthcare. After speaking with the CIC board member at Kokomo, it is obvious that this partnership works well for our patients. “You guys have been good to me,” he says with a smile, “and that’s all I can say.”



Indiana Health Centers, Inc. featured in IPHCA Digest

The Indiana Primary Health Care Association (IPHCA) is made up of member organizations throughout the state, working to ensure that all Hoosiers receive quality healthcare.  IHC is one of IPHCA’s longest-standing member organizations, and members of our Executive Leadership Team are active participants in the organization’s meetings and board events.  This valuable partnership helps IHC collaborate with health centers throughout the state, working together to advance healthcare goals and objectives for all.  The following is an excerpt from IPHCA’s monthly digest, featuring IHC Case Manager Rosie Miller.PHC picture R Miller picture Rosie Miller, Case Manager at Project Homecoming


Indiana Health Centers, Inc.’s Project Homecoming opened in 1988 and became an anchor for the area’s homeless population.  A freestanding facility, Project Homecoming operates in partnership with IHC South Bend’s medical providers.  Rosie Miller is Project Homecoming’s Case Manager, and has over thirty years’ experience in case management and social work, Rosie understands how to reach patients – no matter what it takes.  One particular elderly patient had stopped coming to appointments and was not refilling his medications as needed.  “I just kept calling him,” Rosie said.  After persistent calls from Rosie, and help from the Medical Assistant and Intake Specialist on staff, the man began calling back and taking advantage of the many services Project Homecoming has to offer.  Soon, he started working with the mental health center in the area and, according to Rosie, “it was a 360-degree change.”  Rosie, who spends time at area soup kitchens daily, even saw the man there, and scolded him for riding his moped soon after his cataract surgery.  These personal connections are what make a difference to Project Homecoming’s patients.  “This population doesn’t always realize how important healthcare is, so I try to help them understand,” Rosie says.  “I don’t ever make people feel funny or like I’m looking down on them, because my personal philosophy is that we’re all one step away from being there ourselves.”  

Indiana Health Centers featured on

Obama offers funding to help communities understand Obamacare
By Jen Christensen, CNN
updated 5:32 PM EDT, Thu July 11, 2013

• $150 million in grants will help medical centers spread the word about Obamacare
• 22 million Americans use community health centers for medical treatment
• For millions, Obamacare will be the first time they’ve ever had health insurance
(CNN) — Earl Lane, 35, used to have a bad habit he thinks too many American men share: He never went to the doctor. Lane made decent money working at the popcorn plant near Marion, Indiana, but his job didn’t come with health benefits. A doctor’s visit was way out of his price range — or so he thought. A family member was on the board of the Indiana Health Centers. She told him he should at least get a physical there. The center charges patients on a sliding scale based on a patient’s income. Eventually, Lane gave into family pressure. “And it’s a good thing I did. Going to the center saved my life. It was truly a blessing,” Lane said. “The doctor tested my triglycerides, and then he tested them again because he just couldn’t believe the number. He kept asking ‘Are you sure you feel OK?’ ” The test registered Lane’s triglycerides in the 2,000 range. A healthy person’s numbers are supposed to be around 150 mg/dl. An extremely high triglyceride number like Lane’s can be a sign of type 2 diabetes. Further tests showed Lane was diabetic — dangerously so.

“I praise God that He keeps His Hand on me and in this case His Hand came through the Indiana Health Centers,” Lane said. Community health centers that qualify for federal funding could help some 22 million Americans, many of whom are uninsured. The centers often provide medical, mental health and dental services. For many it’s the only access to medical care they have outside of an expensive emergency room visit. And now these centers are going to play an even bigger role in helping people get access to care.

Earl Lane says the Indiana health center he visited in 
Marion, Indiana saved his life.

The Obama administration announced Wednesday its first big push to help educate uninsured people about the health coverage they’ll qualify for under Obamacare. The health care law expands who is eligible for Medicaid and makes insurance available to people who wouldn’t have qualified before because of pre-existing conditions.

Starting next January, all Americans must have health insurance or face a financial penalty. Open enrollment for state-based health exchanges that will provide this more affordable coverage will start in October.

The Obama administration’s education effort comes in the form of $150 million. Grants will go to 1,159 community health centers that are spread out through all 50 states. Health centers will use these new federal grants to create bilingual education materials about changes in the law. Money will go to training so that medical staff knows how to sign patients up for insurance. Funding will also pay to hire some 2,900 additional workers who will do specific community outreach. Polls show a large percentage of Americans don’t know about the law or how it works. The Obama administration thinks these health centers can make a huge impact in spreading the word.

Indiana Health Centers, Inc supports American Heart Month-Go Red For Women

February is American Heart Month 
February is American Heart Month, and February 3 is National Wear Red Day which calls attention to the topic of women and heart disease.1 Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States and accounted for 25% of deaths in 2008.2 Within one year of having a heart attack, 42% of women will die as compared to 24% of men.3 Make the Call. Don’t Miss a Beat. is a campaign intended to draw attention to and increase awareness of seven common symptoms of heart attack and calling 9-1-1 in response to one or more symptoms.4 A person’s risk for developing heart disease can be influenced by factors such as family history of heart disease, levels of cholesterol and blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, diet and exercise. Increasing age can also be a factor in increasing risk for heart disease.5 Individuals can monitor blood levels related to predisposing conditions and can make changes to physical activity, dietary intake and tobacco use as ways of preventing or slowing the progression of heart disease.

Quick Health Data Online provides several types of data related to heart disease risk factors, morbidity and mortality. The site includes information on topics such as:

Adults ever experiencing a heart attack, stroke or coronary heart disease 
Awareness of calling 911 for heart attack or stroke symptoms 
Adults with high cholesterol 
Cigarette smoking rates 
Percentage of adults with high blood pressure 
Heart disease mortality rates

Data are available by race, gender and across time and can be used to assess differences in behaviors, risk factors, and mortality among various population groups over time. The system can generate maps as well as charts and tables to present data such as age-adjusted Coronary Heart Disease death rates for males and age-adjusted Coronary Heart Disease death rates for females

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

Women urged to get a Pap test as part of New Year’s Resolution
INDIANAPOLIS—As Hoosiers begin making positive changes in 2012, state health officials urge women to make getting a Pap test part of any New Year’s resolution to be healthier.
Each year, approximately 12,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer. From 2004 to 2008, 1,291 Hoosier women were diagnosed with cervical cancer and 424 women died of cervical cancer in Indiana.
Cervical cancer used to be the leading cause of cancer death for women in the United States. However, within the past 40 years, the number of deaths has decreased significantly as a large result of women getting regular Pap tests.
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month and highlights the importance of women to have a regular Pap test.
“The beginning stages of cervical cancer usually have no symptoms, but a regular Pap test can diagnose cervical cancer in its early, most treatable stage,” said State Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin, M.D. “This is crucial as 90 percent of cervical cancers are beatable if found early. Physicians can also diagnose precancerous cervical changes that, when treated appropriately, may prevent cancer from ever occurring.”
The American Cancer Society recommends that all women begin having regular Pap tests three years after having sexual intercourse, or no later than age 21. Screening should be done every year. By age 30, many women who have had three normal Pap tests in a row may be advised to screen less often, such as every two to three years. It is important to talk to your doctor to see what is right for you in regard to screening.
The most important risk factor for cervical cancer is exposure to human papilloma virus (HPV). The virus is spread through sexual contact and two high-risk HPV strains (HPV 16 and HPV 18) account for more than 70 percent of all cervical cancer cases, according to the National Cancer Institute.
There are two vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix, that can help prevent the two most common high-risk types of HPV and are licensed, safe and effective. Talk with your doctor to see if HPV vaccination is right for you and/or your child.
Another high risk factor for cervical cancer is smoking. Women who smoke are about twice as likely as non-smokers to get cervical cancer. To quit smoking or to help someone you care about quit, contact the Indiana Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669).
The Indiana Breast and Cervical Cancer Program provides access to breast and cervical cancer screenings, diagnostic testing, and treatment for underserved and underinsured women who qualify for services. To find out if you qualify for this program, call the Indiana Family Helpline at 1-855-HELP-1ST (1-855-435-7178).
For more information on cervical cancer, visit the Indiana State Department of Health website at
To make a difference in cancer control in Indiana, go to and become a member of the Indiana Cancer Consortium (ICC). The ICC is a statewide network of public and private organizations whose mission is to reduce the burden of cancer in Indiana through the development, implementation and evaluation of a comprehensive plan that addresses cancer across the continuum, from prevention through palliation.