There've been no great surprises for Terry Klein six months into his position as vice president and chief operating officer at Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health here in Crawfordsville. Considering his background, that's no surprise.

"I grew up in a small town just like this," he said the other day sitting in his office. "This is a close (staff). There are many long-term employees. It's a good environment."

It certainly seems to suit him. Relaxed in an open collared shirt, Klein recently took some time to discuss the state of, as well as the future of, health care in Montgomery County.

"When we were growing up, it was about episodic care," the 64-year-old said. "You went to the doctor when you needed one. Now, (we) address our health issues. (We) look at focusing on that prior to episodic care. It's more of a focus on health and wellness. That's very important and we're just starting to talk about it."

Another thing on his agenda is bringing more people into the loop.

"We've been talking and are going to talk more about a Montgomery County Health Alliance," he explained. "We see people from the county health department, the school nurses, the five extended care and skilled nursing facilities and we're all seeing patients and dealing with issues. I'd like to bring us all together and talk about healthcare in Montgomery County, maybe make it more transparent."

Klein also said he is looking to move what he called a "healthy living center model" here from Lafayette. "Heart failure, diabetes and COPD," Klein began. "If we live long enough we will experience some form of those across the population. We can expand our services through this. It can be like what we've done with the wound center and others. Like our pain center. We've increased volume by 30 percent. We're looking at a breast center, hopefully by August."

Klein said it's all about the patients.

"We want to provide quality service for the people in Montgomery County in their hospital, because it is their hospital."

Like any business, Klein has to be aware of ever-changing conditions as well as competitors.

"Sure, there are numerous competitors," he said. "There are urgent care places, off-site diagnostic centers, St. Vincent's in Indianapolis, IU in Lafayette, Witham (in Lebanon). Witham is probably our closest competitor. We probably didn't focus on it as much (as they do now). It's not about marketing so much though as it is about service. We had to look at what kind of services are needed and what are we providing."

When he's not at work, the husband, father and grandfather enjoys restoration work. From woodworking, ceramic, granite . . . pretty much everything except electrical and plumbing. He's got space in his garage. Well, some space. "My wife's an antique dealer so we have a lot of stuff. It's her garage."

He also stays in shape with racquetball, and used to play rugby. "My wife made me give it up." He wasn't talking about back in college, but just a year ago. "I played in an over 50 league in Indianapolis," he explained. Yes, that means he was playing one of the toughest contact sports well past the age of 60. "Most of the guys over 50 who play were in pretty good shape," he smiled.


It would appear that Klein is making strides on ensuring the state of healthcare in Montgomery County is in good shape as well.

Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Tuesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at