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Frank Gray

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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Mike Catalogna, owner of Catablu Grill, recently saved a choking customer with the Heimlich maneuver.

Heimlich a crucial restaurateur’s skill

When you open a restaurant, there are a million details to attend to – recipes, menus, cooks, location – but to the average Joe, learning the Heimlich maneuver probably isn’t one of the things that would be on the list.

Actually, says Mike Catalogna, owner of the Catablu Grille at Covington Plaza, when people go to school to prepare for work in the hospitality industry, the Heimlich maneuver is brought up.

Still, in all the years and all the places he’s worked, Catalogna says, he’s never, ever encountered a single person who has had to use it.

Until last week, that is.

Last Thursday night, Catalogna was at the hostess stand, waiting for the day to come to a close, when he noticed something odd. There were two elderly ladies and a younger lady at a table, and one of the older ladies was trying to help the younger woman, who was choking, but she didn’t have enough power to get the job done. So Catalogna walked up and took over.

“I knew what to do,” he said.

He dislodged what he described as a big glob of something, and the crisis was over.

Catalogna said the woman was nice, thanked him, and then ate the rest of her dinner.

“We obviously want to make our customers happy,” Catalogna said.

That’s one way to do it.

Healthy Indiana

The people who run the Healthy Indiana Plan are taking exception to some of the information given out about the plan during a forum held in Fort Wayne on Sunday, saying it was out of date.

At the forum, people trying to explain the federal health care law, the Affordable Care Act, said the state’s Healthy Indiana Plan for low-income Hoosiers covered 36,500 people and was full.

Jim Gavin, director of communications for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, said that might have been true a few months ago, but things have changed.

People with incomes up to twice the federal poverty level used to be able to sign up for coverage under Healthy Indiana Plan, but on Jan. 1, the income restrictions changed. Now, only people who make less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible. Those who make more than 100 percent can now seek coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

That change in eligibility requirements means that 10,600 of the approximately 35,000 people insured through the Healthy Indiana Plan became ineligible, but they are instead able to seek coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

Meanwhile, the Healthy Indiana Plan also added 10,000 additional slots.

Late last year, the state contacted all 50,000 people on a waiting list to sign up for the Healthy Indiana Plan, some of whom had been on the list for years. Only 5,000 of them still qualified or were still interested in signing up, Gavin said. Of those, 3,400 are in the process of being enrolled.

So as of the first of the year, there were about 17,000 slots open for coverage under the Healthy Indiana Plan, Gavin said.

“We don’t want to hide those openings,” Gavin said. “We want people to know we have them.”

Frank Gray reflects on his and others’ experiences in columns published Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. He can be reached by phone at 461-8376, by fax at 461-8893, or by email at You can also follow him on Twitter @FrankGrayJG.