John Indest, executive vice president and COO of LHC Group Inc., has been appointed to serve as the Corporate Provider Section representative for the National Association for Home Care and Hospice. Indest is a recognized leader in the home health industry and is the co-founder of the Homecare Association of Louisiana. A provider of post-acute health care services primarily in rural markets in the southern U.S., LHC Group also announced that Melissa Laney has joined the staff of Eunice Extended Care Hospital as a patient care representative, and Jennifer Campisi has joined Louisiana Extended Care Hospital of Lafayette's staff as a nurse liaison. Laney is a graduate of Northwestern State University with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration. Campisi is an LPN, and her previous work experience includes internal medicine and home health services.


The Extra Mile has honored Ken and Jacki Benedik with its Volunteer of the Heart Award for their work in establishing CAREFREE, a free mental health clinic in Lafayette. Linda Boudreaux, the Extra Mile's executive director, says the couple has been "the heart and soul of CAREFREE" in its two years of existence. This is the first time the award has been bestowed upon a couple; both teach in UL Lafayette's College of Education. Ken also has a private counseling practice in Lafayette, and Jacki serves as a consultant to a number of organizations.


Acadiana's Delta Delta Delta Alumnae have teamed up with the Miles Perret Cancer Services for the 19th Annual Tri Delta Pansy Sale to benefit those affected by cancer. The sale will be held Saturday, Oct. 14, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the MPCS parking lot at 2130 Kaliste Saloom. Tri Delta is turning over to MPCS 80 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the pansies; the money will go directly to help those fighting and surviving cancer in Acadiana. The Matrix pansies come in flats consisting of 18 four-inch pots. The price for one flat is $27. If two or more flats are purchased, the flowers will be delivered to the buyer's home or business. The center would like all orders in by Thursday, Oct. 5, and order forms are available at www.milesperretcenter.org or by contacting MPCS at (337) 984-1920. Pre-ordered pansies will be available for pickup during the event, and a limited number of flats will be available for purchase on Oct. 14.


Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the No. 1 cause of unexpected death in infants under a year of age in Louisiana. Parents and caregivers can help eliminate these sudden deaths in the Acadiana area by understanding the risk factors and measures they can take to give a baby the best possible chance to thrive. In recognition of SIDS Awareness Month (October), the Louisiana SIDS Campaign is hosting a Safe Sleep Education and Giveaway event Saturday, Oct. 14, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lafayette Wal-Mart at 1229 NW Evangeline Thruway. This educational event, which is being held simultaneously at select retail locations statewide, helps pregnant and new mothers, fathers, and caregivers understand safe sleeping and healthy behaviors for their infants. Pregnant and new mothers can also register to win free baby beds, car seats, and other baby merchandise. SIDS occurs when a baby appears healthy but for no apparent reason dies during sleep. SIDS can occur in all types of families regardless of race, ethnic background, or socioeconomic level. To learn more about the Oct. 14 SIDS Louisiana Safe Sleep Education and Giveaway event or for more information on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, call 1-800-251-BABY or visit www.1800251BABY.org.


The 2006 Down Syndrome Association of Acadiana will hold its annual Buddy Walk Saturday, Oct. 28, to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down Syndrome. The 1-mile walk starts at 9 a.m. at Parc International, 200 Garfield St. (next to the Children's Museum), with registration beginning at 8 a.m. Fun in the Parc, an event with games, music, door prizes, Cajun food and children's activities, begins at 10 a.m. The Buddy Walk program began in 1995 and has grown to 250 walks across the country. Last year the events raised more than $5 million to benefit national education, research and advocacy initiatives, as well as local programs and services. For more info, call DSAA at 234-3109 or visit www.dsaa.info.


Healthcare Facts, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana's online tool for researching and comparing services, has added the following Acadiana area hospitals to its site: Women's & Children's, Abbeville General, Acadian Medical Center in Eunice, American Legion in Crowley, Iberia Medical Center and Dauterive Hospital of New Iberia, Savoy Medical Center in Mamou, Teche Regional Medical Center in Morgan City, Doctors' Hospital of Opelousas and Opelousas General. The easy to use site, www.HealthcareFacts.org, now includes almost 70 hospitals across the state, offering factual and descriptive information on services and pricing to help consumers make informed decisions about their health care. Designed to resemble the familiar "nutrition facts" on cereal boxes and other packaged foods, the information on Healthcare Facts comes from the hospitals themselves. Price comparisons are based on how much Blue Cross and its PPO customers paid for PPO inpatient care. The site is not intended to be a report card that rates hospitals.