Mishawaka-based Franciscan Alliance is planning to cease inpatient services at its Hammond campus. The healthcare network, which had approved a $30 million renovation of the campus just last year, says the closure is a result of reduced inpatient volume at the Hammond campus over the last 15 months.
In a written statement, Franciscan Health Hammond, Dyer and Munster Interim CEO Barbara Anderson said it will consolidate its hospital-based services at its Munster and Dyer campuses. The Hammond campus is expected to continue to offer ambulatory services.
“In the last 15 months, we have seen inpatient volume at Franciscan Health Hammond drop to an average of 2.5 patients per day,” Anderson said in a written statement. “Of the 54 patients who present to the emergency room each day, more than 90 percent would be better served in a lower cost setting, such as an urgent care or primary care clinic. It is difficult to maintain operational efficiency at these volumes. Had we been able to predict the dramatic decrease in volumes, we would have planned differently at the outset.”
Other sources share differing views on the decision.
“This announcement has left Lake County’s largest city without a hospital for its 80,000 residents,” said Mayor Tom McDermott in a written statement. “Franciscan Health’s corporate trustees have made the decision to divest in the city and its residents. The fact is that Franciscan has abandoned Hammond over the last decade by making procedures and services unavailable at St. Margaret’s. Any excuse that people are deciding with their feet to go elsewhere or to give statistics about how few patients use Hammond’s facility is a red herring—this healthcare corporation chose to divest in Hammond. This decision directly contradicts their ministry and mission to provide assistance to the poor and most vulnerable—this is not a compassionate decision.”
Anderson also cites the shortage of healthcare workers, along with the “dramatic shift in patients choosing full-service hospitals elsewhere in the county,” as Franciscan’s primary reasons for the closure. Anderson says the adverse conditions make it “impossible to continue to keep an inpatient facility open that is averaging less than three inpatients per day.”
The Hammond Emergency Department will close at the end of this year.
“Our regional facilities have vacancies that can absorb our employees seeking to stay with Franciscan,” Anderson said. “Our goal is to maintain as many staff members with Franciscan as possible.”