MERRILLVILLE | Officials from the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority are preparing to address a legislative directive to study the feasibility of a trauma center and an academic medical center in Northwest Indiana.
RDA Executive Director Bill Hanna hosted an organizational meeting this week.
"We're trying to just get organized," he said. "We're just trying to be ahead of the curve."
The statute regarding the feasibility studies goes into effect July 1.
Senate Bill 585, known as the "Gary bill," includes funding for a feasibility study for a local trauma center and academic medical center. Gov. Mike Pence visited Northwest Indiana for a ceremonial signing of the bill.
The feasibility studies have a deadline of November 2014, according to the RDA.
The goal of this week's meeting was to establish a starting point of who needs to be involved, because the RDA typically is not involved in health care matters, Hanna said.
"It's just the beginning of it," he said. "It was not even a kickoff meeting."
Northwest Indiana does not have an academic medical center or a trauma center. Local trauma patients commonly are transferred to hospitals in Chicago, Oak Lawn, Fort Wayne or Indianapolis for care, losing crucial minutes that can determine a good outcome for serious injuries.