“Healthcare is about everyone working together as a team for the benefit of patients,” St. Mary Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Janice Ryba explained to business leaders at a recent chamber event. “Our vision is to be an exceptional choice for high quality healthcare in the communities we serve.”
Ryba’s passion for excellence, her persistent focus on community partnerships and outreach and the hospital’s collaboration with local school districts and career centers, prompted the Hobart Chamber of Commerce to name Ryba Business Person of the Year for 2019. The award was presented at the Chamber’s annual recognition dinner on March 1.
Ryba credits the honor to the hospital’s physicians and clinical staff, to her administrative team and to St. Mary Medical Center’s many support staff and volunteers.
Ryba first brought passion and determination with her to St. Mary Medical Center when she became CEO in 2007. Since then, she and her administrative team have established the hospital as a regional leader in healthcare excellence.
St. Mary Medical Center has been recognized in recent years for its high quality care and outcomes in cardiology, neurology and stroke care, orthopedics, oncology, maternity care, bariatrics, vascular care, robotic surgery and other patient services, as well as for overall patient experience, care and safety.
Major achievements include construction of the $17 million, 55,000-square-foot Valparaiso Health Center in 2013, expansion of services at the Portage Health Centers in 2014 and the hospital’s addition of a $40 million Surgical Pavilion and ICU in 2015. Last year, St. Mary Medical Center, in collaboration with its physician network, Community Care Network, Inc., opened its South Valpo Immediate Care, Family Practice and Physical Therapy locations on US 30 in Valparaiso.
In January 2019, St. Mary Medical Center received its first-ever FIVE-STAR rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Hospital Compare ratings. The national average is three stars, so the most recent rating places St. Mary Medical Center among the top 9 percent of hospitals in the nation for measures that include Safety of Care, Patient Experience and Patient Outcomes. The hospital also recently received a Blue Distinction Center-Plus designation from Anthem for its high-quality cardiac care. This designation recognizes positive patient outcomes, as well as ‘cost-effective’ care.
A graduate of Quincy University with a bachelor’s degree in Science and Medical Technology, Ryba began her career as a medical technologist but quickly moved into a management role as administrative director of a hospital laboratory at the age of 27.
Ryba has earned three advanced degrees in support of her healthcare career: a master of Health Administration from Governor’s State University, a master of Jurisprudence in Health Law and Regulation from the Loyola School of Law and a juris doctor from the John Marshall School of Law. She is also a 2007 graduate of Leadership Northwest Indiana.
While pursuing her studies, Ryba continued to move forward in her career with Community Hospital in Munster and, later, within the Community Healthcare System which also includes St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago. Ryba served as a Quality Management director and division director for Diagnostic and Therapeutic Services at Community Hospital before assuming the role of vice president for Regulatory and Rehabilitative Services, Community Healthcare System in 2004.
Ryba gives credit to her husband, Randy, for his steadfast patience and support during her years as both a healthcare administrator and a graduate student.
After more than a decade of success as chief administrator of a growing and highly rated community-based hospital, Ryba said that taking a break from her busy schedule is not always easy. One of her favorite things to do during an otherwise densely packed daily routine, she said, is to leave her office, walk around the hospital and chat with people.
“I like to talk with patients, visitors and staff to garner their feedback on how we’re doing and how we can improve,” Ryba said. “To deliver outstanding care and service to patients every day, you have to be relentless in the pursuit of excellence.”
For more information on the high quality programs and services available at St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart, visit COMHS.org.