REGION'S HEALTHCARE FOCUS

Bringing home the best health care

2012-11-27T03:15:00Z 2013-07-02T14:43:08Z Bringing home the best health careBy Andrea Holecek BusINess Contributor nwitimes.com
November 27, 2012 3:15 am  • 

From opening of the new more than $200 million Porter Regional Hospital to new newborn intensive care unit at Franciscan St. Anthony, Region hospitals have been enhancing their sites, technology and services during 2012.

The myriad of advances at every area facility is a concrete sign of their commitment to the citizens of Northwest Indiana. And the hospitals administrators say they plan to make the coming year a continuation of 2012’s progress.

Porter Health Care System

Porter Health Care System CEO Jonathan Nalli says the opening of Porter Regional Hospital was a milestone for the area and an introduction of the future of health care in the Region.

The facility on a 104-acre site in Valparaiso is twice the size of the hospital it replaces and features all private patient rooms, advanced new imaging equipment and new medical and communication technology.

The hospital offers a continuum of specialized services, such as emergency/trauma (including ALS ambulance services), cardiology, family medicine, surgery, obstetrics, pediatrics, neonatal intensive care, orthopedics, oncology, physical rehabilitation, a joint replacement center, advanced diagnostic imaging capabilities, the Center for Heart Rhythm Disorders and Porter's Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center.

"One of our main goals for 2013 is to better educate our community," Nalli says. “We've just introduced Northwest Indiana to the future of healthcare with the opening of Porter Regional Hospital.

“Now we need to educate them on what that truly encompasses,” he says. “We need to let them know that now there's no reason to travel to Chicago for their health care needs. It's all right here: new equipment, new advanced technology in a patient-centered, award-winning hospital in their own backyard."

Nalli’s statement is a echoed by other area hospital administrators.

Methodist Hospitals

Ian E. McFadden, president and chief executive officer of Methodist Hospitals, says his hospitals are differentiated by the vision to change how the facilities are able to care for patients in the communities they serve.

“Our entire focus is to ensure that Northwest Indiana residents do not need to go elsewhere to seek care,” McFadden says. “That’s why Methodist Hospitals is determined to offer top-flight medical care right here, in the Region. We anticipate new technologies will continue to be introduced at an ever-increasing pace.

“Together with our medical staff, Methodist Hospitals is determined to adopt these new technologies. …. We are committed to creating positive change in the way health care is delivered, change in the way medicine is practiced, and the implementation of innovative.”

Methodist Hospitals in Gary and Merrillville has invested $60 million in the past two years on services, technologies and facilities to improve patient care. They include a computer-assisted surgery suite for orthopedic, spine and neurosurgery; a da Vinci surgical program for cardiothoracic procedures, a Gamma Knife Radiosurgery unit for brain tumor treatment and electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy.

The hospitals also added a three-dimensional mammography system at both campuses; a penumbra clot retrieval system to treat stroke; optical coherence tomography and transradial angiography for treating heart disease; transoral incisionless fundiplication (TIF) to treat acid reflux; and a biplane catheterization Lab for neurovascular intervention. As well as the EKOS system ultrasonic treatment for peripheral vascular disease to safely and quickly remove blood clots; the Impella LVAD, the world’s smallest heart pump that enables cardiologists to perform needed interventions not otherwise possible, and the most advanced endobronchial ultrasound technology that produces precise, 3D imaging for lung cancer.

“We anticipate new technologies will continue to be introduced at an ever-increasing pace,” McFadden says. “Together with our medical staff, Methodist Hospitals is determined to adopt these new technologies.”

Franciscan Alliance

Area Franciscan Alliance hospitals had a number of noteworthy projects in 2012. The Alliance includes Franciscan St. Anthony Health, Crown Point; Franciscan St. Anthony Health, Michigan City; Franciscan St. Margaret Health, Dyer and Hammond, as well at Franciscan Physicians Hospital in Munster and other hospitals throughout Indiana and the south suburbs.

“It’s been a challenging and exciting year,“ says Gene Diamond, CEO of Franciscan Alliance Northern Indiana Region. “Our folks have been given a lot of challenges. They’ve risen to the occasion and we’re very proud of them. For 2013 we are going to have to roll out our Accountable Care Organization. The pioneer project will be our foremost challenge.”

The model program is designed to improve patient care, reduce medical costs and enhance delivery of health care.

“We have to work real hard to improve our overall quality and to learn to more effectively manage the many patient lives were going to be responsible for in the context of the demonstration project,” Diamond says.

Among Franciscan Alliance’s achievements for the year are the an outpatient surgery at Franciscan Point, the outpatient treatment complex under the auspices of Franciscan St. Anthony’s in Crown Point and an free-standing emergency department in Chesterton operated by Franciscan St. Anthony’s in Michigan City.

The Alliance opened the Woodland Cancer Care Center of Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Michigan City, a 20,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility that combines the most advanced technologies available with compassionate care. Services include a state-of-the-art Linear Accelerator, PET/CT Scan, and Diagnostic CT, along with 14 infusion bays, lab and pharmacy.

On Oct. 1, Franciscan Alliance acquired Medical Specialists, a longtime Northwest Indiana health care organization of 69 health care providers who offer a wide variety of primary and specialty care services. Now called Franciscan Medical Specialists, the entity was established in 1978 and has 12 locations in Lake, Porter and La Porte counties. Its team consists of 55 physicians and surgeons, 11 nurse practitioners and two physician assistants.

Community Healthcare System

Community Healthcare System, which operates Community Hospital in Munster, St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart, was on the forefront of providing progressive health care in 2012.

Community Hospital was recognized by HealthGrades as one of the country’s 50 Best Hospitals for the year, plus the rating agency listed it as the best hospital in Northwest Indiana for overall cardiac services. Plus HealthGrades ranked Community Hospital among the top 5 percent in the nation for women’s health care.

One of its surgeons, Dr. Nabil Shabeeb was among the first in the country to perform a single-incision gallbladder removal using the da Vinci SI robotic surgical system. He and other Community Healthcare System surgeons have helped to pioneer the technology.

Community Hospital NICU also has partnered with University of Chicago Medicine to develop a transport system that makes its critical care nursery services more accessible for babies throughout Northwest Indiana.

St. Catherine Hospital has been awarded the 2012 Emergency Medicine Excellence Award from HealthGrades and received an A+ in patient safety overall hospital rating from the Leapfrog Group, which does an annual survey comparing hospital safety, quality, and efficiency in the clinical areas consumers and healthcare purchasers value.

It also opened the new 6,000-square-foot Hessville Family Care Center in the Hessville section of Hammond in late 2011 that provides a full scope of medical services including physician specialties such as family practice, internal medicine, OB/GYN and pediatrics. This fall, the clinic opened an immediate care unit.

St. Mary Medical Center is offering state-of-the-art, specialized care for diseases of the heart valves and other complex heart conditions at its new Heart Valve Institute.

The hospital also is completing an expansion project that brings services closer for the Valparaiso community. Opening in February, the Valparaiso Health Center will provide the same patient care found at the in a new convenient location.

Plus, St. Mary Medical Center is the first hospital in Northwest Indiana to sponsor a Teaching Garden that is aimed at giving children a hands-on appreciation for nurturing and growing plants and harvesting food. And the Center is the first in Porter County to sponsor an American Heart Association Walking Path, a My Heart My Life initiative. The campaign is aimed at empowering Americans to get healthier through a series of health, wellness and fitness activities.

Community has ambitious plans for 2013.

“In response to the growing demand for services across the Community Healthcare System, we will be embarking on expansions and improvements at all three of our hospitals,” says John Gorski, the system’s Chief Operating Officer. “These projects include an expansion of surgical services, more private rooms and bed capacity at Community Hospital; an expansion of surgical services and more bed capacity at St. Mary Medical Center; and the remodeling of the inpatient behavior health unit and our Family Birthing Center at St. Catherine Hospital.

“We continue to serve more patients at all of our hospitals and the complexity of the care we provide has also grown,” Gorski says. “The investments in our surgical services will provide more capacity for more cases. Most importantly, it will also extend to our patients and physicians the benefits of the latest advances in surgical care, including the growing use of robotics and other technologies that have made surgery less invasive and safer to undergo.”

Indiana University Health

Indiana University Health LaPorte Hospital was named No. 16 in the 23rd annual Best Hospitals ratings by U.S. News & World Report to the esteemed 2012–13 Honor Roll, the highest distinction reserved for the top medical centers across the country.

It also was recognized as Best in Class in several key categories in a national survey of diversity practices (including diversity management and strengthening the workforce; cultural competency and engaging communities; and addressing disparities and delivering quality care) by the Institute for Diversity in Health Management, an affiliate of the American Hospital Association.

The LaPorte facility hosted the largest women’s health event in LaPorte County, the 11th annual Women’s Fair on Oct. 9 at Blue Chip Stardust Event Center in Michigan City with more than 2,300 area women attending and participating in free wellness screenings.

And it partnered with the City of LaPorte and LaPorte County Family YMCA to provide Fitness Fridays, a newly created weekly non-competitive running/walking group from early spring to early fall.

“We’ve been really tightening the focus on our mission to improve the health of our patients and communities, and using our values starting with patient -centered care to assure patients are at the center of everything that we do,” said Thor Thordarson, IU Health La Porte Hospital president and CEO. “It’s good when that focus is recognized by our peers and national organizations and that has happened on several occasions in the past year. We’re going to continue wth more of the same. That is to keep up the same emphasis on patient-centered care in 2013. It really doesn’t matter what changes are made in health care reform or other changes in health care, we’ll always continue to put the patient first.”

Ingalls Health System

Expansion and construction projects were abundant within Ingalls Health System during the past year – from the main campus in Harvey to several of its family care centers.

"As the area's only independent not-for-profit healthcare system, Ingalls has the ability to ensure that our resources are directed to areas that result in the greatest benefit to our patients and the community," says Kurt E. Johnson, president and CEO of Ingalls Health System.

Ingalls is one of the first hospitals in the Chicago area to offer the sophisticated O-arm Imaging System for more precise spinal surgery. The new three-dimensional, navigational imaging system gives surgeons a way to navigate a patient’s spine – much like a car’s GPS.

The hospital is having the new TrueBeam radiation therapy system installed this fall will allow radiation oncologists to aim a more precise, higher-dose beam of radiation that is shaped to a cancerous tumor and timed to a patient’s breathing during treatment.

A new 3T magnetic resonance imaging coming to Ingalls Family Care Center in Flossmoor before then end of the year is the most powerful imaging tool used in patient care today.

Pinnacle Hospital

Five-year-old Pinnacle Hospital, Crown Point, is a partnership between primary care physicians, surgeons and other specialists housed in a 18-bed, 63,000-square-foot facility facility designed to avoid having an institutionalized hospital atmosphere.

“Pinnacle Hospital continues to remain consistent in patient satisfaction, which is directly related to the nurse patient ratio,” says June Musikant, quality and risk manager for the hospital. “Nurses are able to work closely with patients and family members to educate on their medical condition.

“Looking towards 2013, Pinnacle will continue to provide quality, cost effective care to all patients,” she said. “Pinnacle recognizes that a quality care is a foundation of exceptional patient outcomes, and ultimately their satisfaction.” 

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