Monday Will Be Looper's First Day As CEO

St. Joseph Hospital Welcomes New CEO

By Michael Konopasek

November 14, 2010 Updated Nov 14, 2010 at 7:17 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Fort Wayne's oldest hospital has a new CEO. Eric Looper was in orientation mode on Sunday at St. Joseph Hospital in the city's downtown.

Indiana's NewsCenter spoke with Looper on Sunday about ideas for the hospital and what might be in store for the future. Looper most recently served as the vice president at a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The new CEO says he plans on taking time to learn about the hospital and Fort Wayne. He says he does not have any major changes in mind just yet.

St. Joseph Hospital, 700 Broadway, is part of the Lutheran Health Network. The ownership has been busy recently expanding some of its hospitals in the region, but St. Joseph has not seen as much expansion or improvements as the other hospitals in the network.

"A lot of the growth in the city is [moving] to the west and to the north," said Looper. "That's always a challenge when the city is growing away from you. It would be exciting to some day have a crane here on the campus and be erecting some new structures or making some new improvements."

The hospital's new leader says he hopes progress with St. Joseph will help downtown revitalization efforts.

"I understand there are some revitalization efforts here in Fort Wayne for the downtown," said Looper. "I'm excited to be part of those and see how St. Joe can serve the revitalization of downtown."

Some of the improvements the hospital is considering include additional clinics. Currently, the hospital is home to several clinics that are seen as strengths. Looper says some of those strengths include the renovated burn center, a wound care center and the coronary intensive care unit.

Looper also added that the hospital may see a positive impact from recent federal health care reform legislation because he says the hospital serves many uninsured and Medicaid patients. So, there will be a large number of people who will have insurance who had not had it before.

Looper is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and Rotary International. He is also an active volunteer with organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Kids Involvement Network.

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