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Franciscan Alliance is partnering with South Bend-based Beacon Health System to build a new hospital in LaPorte.

The $21.6 million Franciscan Beacon hospital will include a 10-bed emergency room, eight inpatient beds, laboratory services and telemedicine capabilities, as well as imaging and diagnostic equipment.

"This is going to be an incredible, high-quality option for hospital services and outpatient imaging in LaPorte County," said Dean Mazzoni, president and CEO of Franciscan Health hospital in Michigan City.

The project, estimated to be completed sometime in 2020, is part of a health care building boom in LaPorte County.

Franciscan Alliance is putting the finishing touches on a new $242 million hospital along Interstate 94 in Michigan City. Meanwhile, Franklin, Tennessee-based Community Health Systems just broke ground on a new $125 million hospital in downtown LaPorte.

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The plan also continues a trend of health systems erecting smaller acute-care facilities at a time when people spend less time in the hospital.

In recent years, Franciscan constructed a $70 million emergency department at its 24-bed hospital in Munster, while Porter Health Care System (which is owned by Community Health Systems) installed a new ER at its medical center in Valparaiso.

"While this facility is a new model of care in the Region, smaller-footprint hospitals are opening all across the country," said Beacon CEO Kreg Gruber, adding that these types of centers "are designed to meet the needs of patients when and where they need it."

The hospital will be located at the current Beacon Medical Group at 900 I St., near LaPorte High School. The project, which is being built by Franciscan-owned contractor Tonn & Blank, will add 28,000 square feet of new construction while renovating 19,000 square feet at that facility.

While Franciscan currently has some physician offices in LaPorte, this will be the nonprofit Catholic health system's "first major — and significant — health care presence there," said Joe Dejanovic, a spokesman for Franciscan. The facility will be jointly owned by the two systems, which will each staff physicians at the new hospital.

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Health Reporter

Giles is the health reporter for The Times, covering the business of health care as well as consumer and public health. He previously wrote about health for the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.