Does Franciscan Health really have no choice but to dramatically downsize its Hammond hospital? Yes, an aging facility presents financial challenges. But the Franciscans must also face the challenge of their stated values. Their website says they’re loyal to the example of St. Francis, “who left behind his worldly possessions to care for all those in need.” It names “Christian stewardship” as a core value, the “just and fair allocation of human, spiritual, physical and financial resources” that’s “respectful of the individual” but also “responsive to the needs of society ... ”
Is the new plan sufficiently “responsive to the needs” of Hammond-area residents? Many are already short on resources. Is Franciscan Health truly driven by its mission, or is this a case of mission downsized in answer to finances?
Franciscan’s Hammond staff have given compassionate care to countless patients. Undoubtedly they’ve shown mercy, too, in financial matters. The same consideration must be evident in larger-scale planning. How compassionate is it to promise that future patients can be transported to Munster and Dyer, further from home and family? How responsive to Hammond’s welfare to transfer a good many jobs to sites further south?
Surely the Franciscans, with their abundant resources, could revise their strategy so as to remain responsive to Hammond’s great needs. Could there also be other players who might add their dollars, human connections and creativity to the venture? Many are watching for fresh possibilities to emerge.
Mike Pennanen, Hammond