Date: 11/30/2005

St. Mary Medical Center opens Lung Center

St. Mary Medical Center announces the opening of the areas only active center dedicated to helping the community find the help they need for lung disease and various breathing conditions. The Lung Center at St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart is sanctioned by the American Lung Association of Indiana, a partnership fostered as a result of the grave need to address lung health in our heavily industrialized region. It serves as a comprehensive resource center for those with any lung condition from asthma to emphysema.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27.3 percent of the Indiana population smokes. Still others are faced with hereditary lung disease that is exacerbated by poor air quality. In fact, according to the American Lung Association, lung disease is the only major killer of Americans that is on the rise.

The Center is staffed by St. Mary Medical Center Pulmonary Rehabilitation specialists and is located at Spectrum of St. Mary Medical Center, 1354 S. Lake Park Ave., Hobart. Lung Center professionals are available to answer questions, do initial assessments and refer patients to appropriate physicians or services so they may start a healthy process of disease management. These services and education materials are free. Other components include the “Breathless” support group and a tobacco cessation program. Over time, the center will have access to outcome data to help determine the effectiveness of lung-health interventions in our area and how to best tailor treatments.

“I have asthma myself, but this is my profession and I’m lucky I have the tools I need to keep it in check. Others don’t. I know how they feel, and that’s why we’re here to help,” says Bill Willer, RCP, director of the Lung Center. Charles Rebesco, M.D., gives medical direction to the Lung Center.


An initial assessment is a series of questions about lung and general health. Based on those answers, Lung Center professionals may recommend additional physician-referred testing to determine if lung disease is the culprit in patients experiencing shortness of breath.
Testing can include measuring the amount of oxygen in the blood, pulmonary-function testing and certain tests that measure the metabolic process of breathing.

Because St. Mary is part of Community Healthcare System, the Lung Center has access to valuable resources that can help patients obtain care in their communities. These include pulmonary-function testing at Community Hospital in Munster, the Asthma Care Center at St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago, and smoking-cessation programs at all three hospitals in the system.

Lung Center professionals also work closely with patients’ doctors to encourage patients to incorporate disease management into daily living. An important tool is pulmonary rehabilitation—an exercise regimen to strengthen the heart, which in turn can strengthen the breathing process by putting more oxygen into the blood.

For more information, contact the Lung Center at St. Mary Medical Center at 219-947-6161 or visit