In Cedar Lake, Hanover Community school officials have fired a 31-year-old Hanover Central High School chemistry teacher who is charged with three misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor after being accused of taking students to a strip club and allegedly providing alcoholic beverages at his home. Published reports says Travis Lechien of Crown Point has taught in the Hanover Community School district for a decade and had been suspended with pay since September 10th. An attorney for the teacher was quoted as saying their intention is to enter a plea of not guilty. An initial court hearing in Lake County is scheduled for November 19th....
Indiana State Police at the Lowell Post say an early morning pursuit ended with a motorcycle crash in La Porte County and the driver, a 39-year-old Westville man, receiving life threatening injuries. A preliminary investigation revealed shortly before 1:30 this morning, the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department got information about a motorcycle crash that may have occurred at U.S. 421 and 250 South in Westville. Officers were unable to locate the crash but shortly thereafter heard a motorcycle approaching allegedly at an excessive speed. Police say driver would not pull over, and went into a neighborhood off East Jefferson Street in Westville, then north on US 421, approaching Valentine Court in Michigan City where he hit a curb, lost control, and was ejected. Indiana State Police say William Knies who was not wearing a helmet was transported to Saint Anthony’s Hospital in Michigan City and later transported to South Bend Memorial Hospital with life threatening injuries. Indiana State Police say preliminary indications are Knies tested positive for alcohol (.28 B.A.C %) and also metabolic of tetrahydrocannibinol (THC). [Photo/Indiana State Police] ...
Franciscan Alliance Wednesday announced it is cutting 275 jobs at its eleven Indiana hospitals and health care facilities. The Mishawaka-based company operates five hospitals in the Region -- Franciscan St. Margaret Health in Hammond and Dyer, Franciscan St. Anthony Health in Crown Point and Michigan City, and Franciscan Healthcare in Munster. The cuts made included administrative, management, supervisory, clinical and nonclinical. A Franciscan news release cited substantive changes in the field, including health care reform laws and shifts from inpatient to outpatient care. [Photo/Franciscan Alliance, Franciscan St. Margaret Health Dyer]
MISHAWAKA, Ind. – Franciscan Alliance announced today that the health system is responding to the transformative shift in hospital economics with system-wide staff reductions.
The reductions will affect its 11 hospitals and health facilities in Indiana. 275 employees or 1.4% of the workforce will be laid off as a result of the reduction. Franciscan Alliance has approximately 20,000 employees.
The healthcare industry is changing rapidly and economic pressures are forcing substantive changes in the field, including reduced reimbursements, new payer models, healthcare reform laws and shifts from inpatient to outpatient care.
“Franciscan Alliance has not been immune to such pressures and has found it necessary to align staffing levels to reflect lower patient volumes and reduced industry wide reimbursements brought on by reforms associated with the Affordable Care Act,” said Kevin Leahy, Franciscan Alliance president and chief executive officer.
Like other health systems, Franciscan Alliance must cut its costs of care delivery over the next 3 years by 15-20% ($375,000,000-$500,000,000) to remain viable. Last month, our South Suburban Chicago Region eliminated 125 positions. Today, our other operating divisions will notify 275 co-workers that they will be laid-off from their positions. In addition, another 650 full-time equivalent positions will be eliminated by cutting back on assigned hours, closing open positions, retirements and through attrition. The remaining 19,000 employees will see cutbacks in benefits in 2014. These cutbacks include the elimination of the 1.5% employer match to the 403b retirement savings program, elimination of the PTO buy-back program, higher employee contributions for healthcare insurance, no salary increases for management, and a new defined benefit/defined contribution pension for all co-workers not vested by 1/1/2014 in the defined benefit pension plan. The cost savings from these, and other recent pay practice changes, will help preserve hundreds of other jobs which otherwise would have to be eliminated.
“Recent trends and the new law are challenging healthcare providers to manage the continuum of care for patients more efficiently and effectively to ensure the same quality outcomes at reduced reimbursement levels,” Leahy said. “Our challenge is to staff our campuses in line with the reduced inpatient volumes that are a byproduct of recent healthcare trends and the new law,” he added.
The staff reductions are among several initiatives Franciscan Alliance has undertaken, such as streamlining patient flow processes and coordinating care across the system to deliver quality outcomes and improve patient satisfaction. Ongoing non-labor cost efficiencies continue to be researched, identified, implemented and monitored throughout the system as well.
Regarding the impact on employees affected by the reduction in workforce, Leahy emphasized, “We are profoundly aware of the impact our decisions have on the lives of our co-workers and their families. Consistent with our Franciscan Values, we will make every effort to support all Franciscan team members through these difficult changes. Those whose jobs will be affected by the workforce reduction will be provided with severance, extended health insurance where eligible, and outplacement assistance,” he said.
He added that for more than 138 years, the mission of Franciscan Alliance has remained steadfast and constant. “Whatever measures we take will not compromise our goal to provide patients the high-quality, compassionate care they expect and deserve.” ...
A native of northwest Indiana has been elected chief judge of the 15-member Indiana Court of Appeals. Judge Nancy Vaidik, a former Porter Superior Court judge, was appointed in 2000 to the Court of Appeals by then Governor Frank O'Bannon, then retained by election in 2002 and 2012. Judge Vaidik, originally from Portage, will begin her three-year term as chief judge January first. Vaidik is a sixth-generation Hoosier. She graduated with high distinction from Valparaiso University in 1977, with a double major in political science and psychology, and then studied at Valparaiso University Law School, where she earned her Juris Doctor in 1980....
"Bully" a term not only used to describe human behavior, but to categorize dogs. Breeds like Bulldogs, Rottweilers, Dobermans, and especially Pitbulls are often stigmatized as dangerous or agressive and put in the "Bully" category. The Annual Coast to Coast Bully Walk is an all-breed national walk held to fight for the rights of families and their dogs who are sterotyped as bullies.
Listen to today's 219 or Audio On Demand here on our website for information on The Porter County Animal Shelter's local Bully Walk. You can take part this weekend and help end the negative sterotypes associated with these loveable pets....
The Indiana Department of Transportation is looking to hire Seasonal Winter Program Workers at a job fair to be held today in Rensselaer. According to INDOT, successful hires will work as seasonal INDOT maintenance crew staff, and as plow drivers during snow events this winter.
Officials are looking to ad positions based out of Rensselaer, Winamac and Monticello. Applicants must possess a vallid CDL, High School Diploma or equivalent and the ability to pass a drug test successfully. The job fair is from 10am to 2p.m. CDT at INDOT's Rensselaer Subdistrict located at 1130 E. Maple in Rensselaer. According to INDOT, priority at the job fair will be given to those who apply online in advance.
For more information like INDOT Northwest at www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest and follow INDOT on Twitter at: www.Twitter.com/INDOTNorthwest
Or contact the La Porte dISTRICT TOLL FREE AT 1-855-GO-INDOT....
The Town of Cedar Lake is actively seeking residents to apply for vacancies on several Boards and Commissions. In a press release, applicants are being sought to fill five vacancies on the Redevelopment Commission, one vacancy on the Plan Commission, two positions open on the Board of Zoning Appeals, one Republican and one Democrat vacancy on the Police Commission and one Democratic slot to fill on the Storm Water Board. Applications can be picked up at the Cedar Lake Town Hall, located at 7408 Constitution Avenue from 8a.m.-5p.m. Monday-Friday or they can apply online at: https://www.cedarlakein.org.
Applications must be submitted in person at the Town Hall. Proof of residency is required and political affiliation, where applicable. Deadline to apply is December 1st, 2013. ...
Looking to stay fit by walking and more? The newly refurbished walking track at Fairgrounds Park in Valparaiso might be on your list of new destinations. If you have driven by, or walked by the south side of Fairgrounds Park on Evans Avenue you probably noticed something that seemingly sprang up overnight, adjacent to the walking track. Welcome to the new Life Trail Advanced Wellness System. Seven stations with three panels each that are designed to kick start anyone's fitness routine.
Thanks to an Indiana Community Block Grant awarded to the City's Elderstyle initiative led by Pines Village Retirement Communities and the Valparaiso Parks Department, the fitness equipment, which is free and open to all. So, enjoy.
According to the Barbie Johnson of the Valparaiso Parks Department, an official ribbon cutting of the new Life Trail site will take place at 11 a.m. Thursday, October 24, 2013.
(above photo: Life Trail Advanced Wellness System stations/Valparaiso Parks Department) ...
The Region News Team talked to Indiana US Senator Dan Coats today. Senator Coats discussed his efforts to delay the individual and employer mandates of Obamacare. The Senator also talked about issues with the federal health care website and other topics. To hear our interview, visit News Audio on Demand here at our website....
Valparaiso Police report westbound US 30 is shut down from Linwood to State Road 2 as crews respond to a house fire on the north side of the highway. The fire is west of Axe Avenue. No indication at this time how long the westbound lanes will be closed. Crews got the call around 11-o'clock this morning....
Police say the victim became lodged underneath the vehicle, and upon officers' arrival, the moped driver was unresponsive. Due to the victim’s location underneath the vehicle, police say his shoe was removed to check for a pulse, none was found. Griffith Fire Department crews raised the vehicle to free the victim, and no signs of life were found by personnel from Prompt EMS. Police say the victim was wearing a helmet. His identity had not been released pending notification of next of kin. Ridge Road was shut down for a time this morning between Arbogast and Broad Street. ...
- Heart Screenings Underway for Student Athletes
- Funeral Services Set for Merrillville Family
- Icy Roads and Snow Hinder Commute
- Crown Point Man Seriously Injured in Crash
- Crash Closes Ridge Road in Griffith
- Tec Air Relocates Corporate Headquarters to Munster
- Valparaiso Police Chief to Announce Run for Sheriff
- Griffith Road Closure for Emergency Sewer Repair
- Police Allege Teacher Took Students to Strip Club
- Three Hammond Robbery Suspects in Custody
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