Indianapolis children's hospital aims to expand influence statewide

Hospital sign

An Indianapolis hospital is hoping to expand its reach by encouraging residents to seek quality medical care in Indiana instead of across state lines.

Riley Hospital for Children is highly regarded among the nation’s children’s hospitals, according to an article from The Associated Press published in the News & Observer, but a number of patients in parts of the state often leave Indiana for care. “So this is about making patients understand they can receive quality care here in Indiana,” hospital President Matthew Cook told the AP.

Efforts to expand Riley’s reach began before Cook came to the hospital in April, but have really taken off under his leadership, according to the article. The facility is building new psychiatric and physical rehabilitation units, and it is planning to add comprehensive maternity services as well, as Indiana’s infant mortality rate ranks among the highest in the U.S.

Riley’s previous president, Jeff Sperring, added more than 200 pediatricians to the staff, according to the article, many of whom travel across Indiana to evaluate and assist on tough cases at smaller, rural hospitals. Patients who need higher-level care are sent to Riley, and those who can be treated in their own communities stay there, which saves significant costs, according to the article. “The model ought to be taking care of patients in the community closest to where the live, if possible,” Cook told the AP.

Doug Leonard, president of the Indiana Hospital Association, said it makes sense for Riley to expand its scope across the state, as it’s a well-known brand that has treated children in all parts of Indiana. Consultant Ed Abel, director of healthcare practice at Blue & Co., said it’s also a good financial move, as Indianapolis alone is likely not large enough a market to maintain a high-level pediatric facility.

Riley is also a member of SPS, an organization dedicated to improving patient safety that includes almost all of the children’s hospitals in the U.S.

- here’s the article