​​​​​​100 Years of Advancing Health Care Together


IHA has a proud history of serving Indiana hospitals from 1921  - 2021. For 100 years, we have supported  Hoosier hospitals in many ways. We are honored to continue to​ help and provide support for our 170-plus member hospitals through advocacy, patient safety, member services, data assistance,​​ communications, and ​various other ways. 

Through the years, IHA has been able to aid our Indiana hospitals during times of war, recession, crisis, and pandemics. The health care industry has also changed significantly over 100 years. There have been many changes in regulation, laws, medicine, and advancements in treatment.​  This year, as we celebrate our centennial, the theme will be "Advancing Health Care Together," as the history of our Hoosier hospitals pushes past the current pandemic to facilitate and administer groundbreaking vaccines.  

The First IHA Meeting  

1921.png The  1920s​ - The first meeting of the Indiana Hospital Association was held on this day (April 27-28) in 1921, at Hotel Fowler in Lafayette, IN. Dr. George F. Keiper organized the gathering to discuss the formation of a state hospital association. More than 100 people were present at the meeting; most attendees were physicians. The group adopted a constitution and by-laws for the organization, and Dr. Keiper was elected the first chairman.

The first resolution of the newly formed IHA was the standardization of patient charts. Other early items the group addressed were the training of employees, fire safety, the standardization of practices, construction, and dietetics. ​

IHA has served Indiana hospitals since 1921 and is proud to celebrate our 100th anniversary this year. 

Indiana's First Hospital Insurance Plan

Great-Depression-sq-crop.pngThe  Great Depression, the 1930s - 1940s -  During the 1930s, the financial devastation of the Great Depression highlighted the need for public health insurance. In addition, hospitals faced many resource shortages as the World War II effort demanded​more resources. In the mid-1940s, IHA led the launch of Indiana's first hospital insurance plan, Indiana Blue Cross. The late wartime era initiatives sponsored by IHA also included the passage of a state hospital licensing law and one to exempt non-profit hospitals from certain taxes.

IHA's First Salaried President  ​​


The 1960s - By the 1960s had risen dramatically. In response to a new environment of regulatory bureaucracy, IHA appointed Elton "Tek" TeKolste, a former accountant for the American Hospital Association, as its first salaried president. Tek's analysis and predictions of crucial hospital concerns such as reimbursement and cost containment demonstrated his unique quality of foresight. Under his ​leadership, IHA helped develop a national rate control plan. The Association also began to deal with the impact of hospital reimbursement methods, which changed dramatically with the establishment of the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

IHA's Counsel  ​​

John-Render-for-web.pngThe 1970s -  During the 1970s, the Indiana Hospital Association worked with the American Hospital Association to fight proposed caps in Medicare payments that could have forced hospitals to cut services. The 1970s also saw the passage of the nation's first medical malpractice act.​

John Render became IHA's Assistant General Counsel in 1971 to assist hospitals with the increasing tasks of regulation and advocacy. He became General Counsel in 1984 and served in that capacity until his retirement in 2017. In recognition of his many significant contributions to the hospital industry during his career, IHA created the John C. Render Award for Health Policy in 2011.

IHA's Second President

Stella-square.pngThe 1980s - Sadly, IHA staff and members lost their president, Elton TeKolste, to a sudden death in 1983. The Association then named Kenneth G. Stella, administrator of Morgan County Hospital in Martinsville, as its new president in 1984. IHA developed a long-term strategic plan with Stella's lead that emphasized public policy and new collaborative relationships. By 1989, expansion of the state's Medicaid program became a top-tier priority for the Association.

​IHA's Third President

The 1990s-2000s - In 1996, IHA celebrated its 75th anniversary with a new name and corporate identity that reflected its focus on partnerships: "Indiana Hospital & Health Association" (IHHA).​​ 

The IHHA led the charge to improve patient safety in Indiana hospitals by advocating for a medical error reporting system based on a list of 27 events that should never happen, which later became known as the "27 never events list." With a renewed focus on patient safety and quality of care, the Indiana Patient Safety Center was launched in 2006 under the direction of IHHA during Ken Stella's presidency. 

In 2007, Ken Stella retired after 23 years of leading the Association. Douglas J. Leonard, IHHA's past two-term chairman and CEO of Columbus Regional Hospital, was selected as the new president. Recognizing the need to refocus the Association's efforts on hospital-specific issues, Indiana Hospital & Health Association once again became the Indiana Hospital Association.

Healthy Indiana Plan

​​Hip-2.1.pngThe 2010s -​ President Barack Obama passed his signature legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010. This act, and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, comprise what is also known as "health care reform." 

In 2011, IHA celebrated its 90th anniversary with the slogan, "Stability Through Decades of Change." 2015 was a big year for health care and ​IHA. On January 27, 2015, Indiana won approval, and the Healthy Indiana Plan healthcare coverage was expanded through the HIP 2.0 waiver. Since then, HIP has grown to serve more than 690,000 Hoosiers.

​IHA's Fourth President

BrianT320.png2017 brought yet another leadership transition for the Association. With the retirement of Doug Leonard that year, Brian Tabor, IHA Executive Vice President, was selected to become IHA's fourth president. His substantial experience in various policy and government relations roles further cemented the Association's reputation as the voice for Indiana hospitals, particularly in the Indiana General Assembly.

Although Congress enacted the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, it remained the subject of intense policy debate for years. Finally, in 2015, then-Governor Mike Pence announced a partnership with IHA to expand coverage to hundreds of thousands of uninsured Hoosiers through the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP). The announcement came after months of negotiation with his administration and the team led by IHA president Doug Leonard. In addition to Leonard, current IHA president Brian Tabor was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash recognition by Pence alongside Tim Kennedy, IHA's General Counsel with Hall Render, and Sally Cleveland, Director at Blue & Co. As Tabor transitioned into the president's role in 2017, he was challenged to keep HIP intact as the ACA "repeal and replace" battle consumed Washington, D.C. Fortunately, HIP was preserved and provided a vital lifeline for many more Hoosiers as the 2020 pandemic ensued.

​COVID-19 Pandemic


The 2020s​ - The year ushered in an unprecedented challenge to IHA, its members, the country, and the world that none could have imagined. The first case of COVID-19 in Indiana was detected on March 6, 2020, and quickly turned the health care system upside down. As a result, IHA's entire efforts rapidly pivoted to steadfastly assisting its members in dealing with the uncharted waters of the global pandemic. As the war on COVID-19 waged on into 2021 and even 2022, IHA remained committed to providing needed guidance and support to its members.

As the staff at IHA reflect on the past 100 years of the Association, many milestones, achievements, and challenges have been captured and acknowledged. However, one thing remains a constant – we continue to be honored and humbled to have the privilege to serve the hospitals of this state and the patients to whom they so selflessly provide care every day.