As Mishawaka-based Franciscan Alliance prepares to shutdown inpatient services at its campus in Hammond, the health system says it will stop accepting ambulances before Christmas. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report Franciscan Health Hammond will start turning away ambulances on Dec. 23.
It will, however, continue to take walk-in patients at the emergency department until Dec. 31.
The publication says local fire departments will be forced to transport critical patients to hospitals in Munster, East Chicago, and Harvey, IL to get life-saving medical care.
“Depending on the location of the call, you can add on average an additional 10 minutes of transport time to the hospital. We are equipped to handle the extra downtime of our primary ambulances,” said Calumet City Fire Chief Glenn Bachert.
Fire officials in Hammond echoed the sentiment.
“It’s going to add seven, eight, 10 minutes to the drive no matter what,” Fire Chief Jeff Smith said. “It’s going to be farther and take more time.”
The publication says shooting or stabbing victims may need to travel even farther for higher level trauma care.
Hammond has the largest fire department in Northwest Indiana and the most staff but city leaders worry that might not help people who need to get to the hospital as soon as possible.
“We currently have three ambulances in service and are planning on adding a fourth during peak hours of the day,” said Bachert. “In addition, each fire engine is equipped with ALS equipment and staffed with paramedics.”
Franciscan Health has begun demolition of the 800,000-square-foot facility. While closing in-patient care, the system will maintain offices in downtown Hammond.
Click here to access the full story from Joseph S. Pete and The Times of Northwest Indiana.