St. Mary Medical Center Puts the Care in “Health Care”

By: Caitlin Vanlaningham Last Updated: April 1, 2013

Janice-RybaA very exciting event just took place at the St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart. The CEO of St. Mary Medical Center, Janice Ryba, had agreed to do an interview with us! She talked about what St. Mary’s was all about and how they represent Life in the region. Some great things are happening inside and out of that entity, so read on to find out what Ryba has to say!

As the Chief Executive Officer of St. Mary Medical Center, Ryba wears many hats. She must lead the company as it grows and changes. St. Mary is a non-profit organization and one of three fully operational hospitals in the Community Healthcare System (the other two being St. Catherine Hospital and Community Hospital). That is a lot to lead and Ryba handles her role with grace and confidence.

“I feel as though I am the steward of the organization,” Ryba explained. “I make sure that we are meeting the health needs of the community. And I know that’s a very broad comment, but it encompasses everything from making sure that we have high quality physicians participating at the hospital and providing care to the community, making sure that we provide the physicians and our staff with the best of technology and tools and last but certainly not least, always looking to see if we can expand our services in the local community because we are a community based facility.”

St-Mary-Medical-CenterSt. Mary serves the Lake and Porter County area. They are best known for the care that they provide to their patients. There are many programs that stand out at St. Mary Medical Center such as their cardiology program, orthopedic services, chest pain center, stroke care center, as well as others. Not only has the orthopedic service line been accredited for two years in a row by the Joint Commission for their hip and knee replacements, Ryba said that St. Mary was recognized by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield for the quality of their care. Within the walls of St. Mary things are kept to high standards. The staff gives one hundred percent of themselves to the care and health of the patients. The attitude throughout the hospital is a positive and genuine desire to help. What makes St. Mary unique is that the care does not stop once a patient leaves the healthcare facility. They will help patients find additional help for a number of needs including additional rehabilitation, in-home care, financial assistance, or long-term care. St. Mary has a group called the Quality Care Navigator team. These individuals get assigned to individuals based on that person’s diagnosis or other needs. They will follow up with a patient after discharge and see that he or she continues to get the care that they need.

“With the notion of reform, we really need to reduce the number of readmissions to the hospital. And that means keeping them safe, making sure that we can give them the medical support that they need in their homes.” Ryba said. “We’re always looking at how healthcare reform will impact all of us. We know that we have programs like our Charity Care programs that will help to fill some of those voids… We also know that some of the reform that may be coming means keeping patients outside of the hospital, which will drive out notion of providing cost effective care… I think that will help us bridge that challenge of reduction in reimbursement to hospitals.”

Ryba and the rest of the staff at St. Mary Medical Center believe that though there many be challenges with the healthcare reform, there will also be opportunities such as more payment for preventative care. And she says that if they continue to provide top quality care (which they will) then St. Mary will continue to be a preferred provider for Northwest Indiana.

Another unique thing that makes St. Mary Medical Center unique is the passion that the staff and medical professionals there emanate. This feeling flows out into the community as St. Mary does multiple community-related functions and initiatives. The involvement includes (but definitely isn’t limited to): free health screenings, school health and wellness programs, mentoring programs and charitable donations. St. Mary, along with the American Heart Association, is bringing health knowledge to the students of the region with Teaching Gardens. Teaching Gardens help teach kids about fresh food and the importance of incorporating healthy foods into their diets in a hands-on setting. St. Mary also in collaboration with the local YMCAs providing free physicals, vaccinations and other programs. They also helped to create the new Portage Walking Path, also in conjunction with the American Heart Association.

st-mary-ribbon-cutting-2“Our mission statement is to provide the highest quality care at the most cost efficient manner,” Ryba said. “In addition, our mission is about making sure that we preserve the integrity and dignity of the individual; that we’re worried about the well being of the community; and servicing the poor and disadvantaged.”

Ryba went on to say that there were many support service education programs in the Medical Center. This encompasses physical therapy, the nursing staff, the university program affiliates, lab services, and more. St. Mary is affiliated with IUN School of Medicine so classes are conducted within the facility under the guidance of a qualified staff member. There are also programs for those looking to continue their medical education and for those just staring out in the profession.

The wealth of knowledge and expertise that St. Mary’s contains has not gone unnoticed. More and more people are coming to them for care and assistance from further distances. St. Mary just opened their newest facility in Valparaiso earlier this year and this means that more people can get the help they need without having to travel as far. The Valparaiso location provides care for all types of medical needs such as cardiology, neurology, general surgery, oncology, weight loss and bariatric medicine, gynecology, plastic surgery, integrative medicine, and pain management. There is also outpatient rehabilitation, Immediate Care Center and community rooms for recreational or business use for the outside community. And with a full, clinical laboratory complete with the latest medical technology, this facility is able to accommodate many patients with a wide variance of needs in a quick and efficient manner while still applying the positive and caring nature that St. Mary is known for.

“[The Valparaiso location] is not only meant to create a healing environment but also make it a one stop shop for patients,” Ryba said. “If you’ve ever been in apposition where you’ve had to navigate the healthcare system it can be very complex. So our notion was, in an out patient setting, to bring as many specialists together to service the patients at one site…We’ve really engaged the medical physicians who are on the staff here and they are excited to be part of the project in Valparaiso.”

Looking into the future, Ryba says that the next big project to be implemented is an entirely new surgery department and expanding the ICU at the St. Mary Hobart location.

“We want bring heartfelt excellence here to St. Mary Medical Center so that patients will no longer need to travel into the city for their care.” Ryba said. “Improvement comes in a lot of different forms so that means not only in building projects but in enhancing the education for our own staff and making them feel as though they are part of our St. Mary family…because the stronger they become in their positions, the better care we can continue to provide to the community. I think St. Mary has a very bright future.”