Franciscan Health to close Hammond ER by end of year • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine
Franciscan Health Hammond

Franciscan Health to close Hammond ER by end of year

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Franciscan Health will close its Hammond emergency department by the end of the year. The hospital group announced the closure in a statement Thursday from Barbara Anderson, interim president and CEO.

Franciscan Health Hammond
Franciscan Health plans to close its emergency department at its Hammond hospital by the end of the year. (Photo provided)

The statement cited sharp decreases in patient volume as the reason for the change in plans from last year when the board of trustees announced its decision to downsize the emergency department to 10 beds.

“In the last 15 months, we have seen inpatient volume at Franciscan Health Hammond drop to an average of 2.5 patients per day,” said Anderson in the 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.”

Franciscan Health will consolidate its hospital services by sending patients to its Munster and Dyer locations. Ambulances will continue to serve Hammond. Anderson also cited “a critical shortage of health care workers” as further reason to close the emergency department.

Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott expressed his disappointment with the decision in a statement Thursday.

“This announcement has left Lake County’s largest city without a hospital for its 80,000 residents, and it underscores the problem in America — an America that now has two health care systems — one if you are wealthy and one if you are not,” McDermott said.

He also said that patient numbers are down at the Hammond hospital because of previous downsizing at the location.

“The fact is that Franciscan has abandoned Hammond over the last decade by making procedures and services unavailable at St. Margaret’s,” he said.

In 2021, the Franciscan Alliance Board of Trustees approved plans to invest $30 million in the 100-year-old hospital and earmark $15 million to demolish buildings that were no longer useful. In the Thursday statement, Anderson said Franciscan Health plans to invest $5.3 million in primary care serves at the Hammond campus.

“Franciscan Health’s Dr. John Lanman Clinic for the uninsured and underinsured, Fresh Start Market for the food insecure, Diaper Pantry, Prenatal Assistance Program, primary care clinic, dialysis, anticoagulation clinic, multi-specialty clinic and women’s health center will continue to operate,” Anderson said in the statement.

Eight Federally Qualified Health Centers, which qualify to receive reimbursement for some services through Medicare and Medicaid, also have addresses in Hammond. NorthShore Health Centers opened a clinic at 1828 165th St. in June 2021.

McDermott said he also will continue to make sure Hammond's residents receive the care they need.

“I promise that I will continue to do everything in my power to seek out alternative health care providers that are committed to the city and its residents and to make sure Hammond’s health care needs are met,” McDermott said.

Meanwhile, Anderson said that Franciscan Health has identified “a qualified developer of housing for senior and disabled citizens who is very interested in working with the city to renovate the two oldest and largest buildings on the campus.”

As for employees who work in the department, Anderson said the hospital's goal is to find them jobs in its other facilities.

“Our goal is to maintain as many staff members with Franciscan as possible,” Anderson said.

In June 2021, Franciscan filed a WARN notice with the Indiana Department of workforce Development that said 83 jobs would be lost.

Franciscan Health said it is still committed to serving Hammond's residents.

“We believe this decision is best suited to continue our care for all of Northwest Indiana,” Anderson said in the statement. “Franciscan Health and the Franciscan Health Foundation remain committed to serving the needs of all of Lake County, and will continue initiatives to protect the most vulnerable and provide compassionate care to those who need it most.”


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