A judge’s ruling that could delay the closing of the emergency room at Franciscan Health Hammond may come later today, according to our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana. The city of Hammond is seeking an injunction to keep Mishawaka-based Franciscan Alliance from pulling the plug on the aging hospital.
Lake Superior Court Judge Bruce Parent listened to arguments Wednesday from the city and the health system.
In early November, Franciscan announced it would close its ER to ambulances this Friday, and permanently close the emergency department a week later. This was a course change for the health system. In May 2021, Franciscan said it would demolish the 124-year-old hospital and replace with an eight-bed hospital with a 24/7 ER.
The publication reports Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. said from the witness stand that closing the hospital would be a “betrayal” of solemn promises Franciscan officials made 18 months ago to downsize the facility but keep open its emergency room.
Franciscan officials replied that the hospital has lost money for at least a decade and the Mishawaka-based hospital chain can no longer afford to staff it.
Franciscan attorney Megan Brennan told the judge that Franciscan Alliance is on track to lose more than $100 million this year as revenue from private insurers and federal Medicare and Medicaid assistance fails to meet its surging labor costs.
She said the downtown facility has too many uninsured or underinsured patients coming from impoverished communities in Illinois.
Click here to access the full story from The Times of Northwest Indiana.
Editor’s note: This is a developing story. Inside INdiana Business will provide an update as warranted.