Indianapolis Construction Update

Monday, February 20, 2012

Beech Grove preps for transition to Indy campus in March

INDIANAPOLIS – As Franciscan St. Francis Health moves forward with plans to consolidate inpatient operations from its Beech Grove to Indianapolis campus, the hospital’s Emergency Services will ensure a continuum of care to patients.

At 7 a.m., Monday, March 12, the Beech Grove Emergency Department (ED) at 1600 Albany St. will begin transitioning its services to the hospital’s Indianapolis facility at 8111 S. Emerson Ave. The Beech Grove ED will remain open to treat walk-in patients.

At 7 a.m., Friday, March 16, the Beech Grove ED will shut down entirely, after all its operations are fully integrated at the Indianapolis hospital.

“Local Emergency Medical Services organizations, ambulance services and other relevant medical groups and practices were notified of these changes earlier in the year,” said India Owens, director of Emergency Services. “Every effort is being undertaken to ensure the safety of all patients seeking care in our emergency departments.”

Beech Grove area residents with minor ailments also have the option of seeking treatment at St. Francis Medical Group After-Hours Clinic at 2030 Churchman Ave. Patients also can seek treatment at the After-Hours Clinic at 7855 S. Emerson Ave., Suite P.

Embracing the future of health care

The change in ED operations coincides with the centralization of Franciscan St. Francis’ Beech Grove inpatient care, other clinical programs and administrative support services to the Indianapolis hospital – just seven miles from Beech Grove. The implementation of the initiative, which was years in planning, began in 2007 when the hospital announced a $300 million expansion of its Indianapolis medical center.

With growing patient demand for services on the city’s far south side and landlocked from further growth in Beech Grove since the late 1980s, the hospital embarked to add 221 new inpatient beds to its existing 234 beds and to construct and renovate other clinical and non-clinical units.

“This initiative was undertaken with great deliberation and planning,” said Robert J. Brody, president and chief executive officer for Franciscan St. Francis. “Combining the two hospitals under one roof enables us to perform more efficiently, achieve cost-savings, eliminate duplication of services and further enhance the level of care our patients expect and deserve.”

Continued growth of the Indianapolis hospital has been commensurate with an ever-increasing need for services since the facility first opened in 1995. With the addition of more complex and advanced services and technology, Franciscan St. Francis attracts those located nearby as well as those who come from throughout the region. The campus’ geographic location – located near two Interstate 65 exits – makes it easily accessible and centrally located to more patients.

The consolidation of inpatient services was driven by another key factor.

“For nearly a decade, more than 90 percent of the care delivered at Beech Grove has been performed on an outpatient basis,” said Keith Jewell, senior vice president and chief operating officer, who has overseen the consolidation project. “This, combined with the myriad of other challenges, helps us to adapt accordingly to the ever-changing nature of health care in our area and proactively respond to national health care initiatives as they progress.”

And the two-phase project hasn’t been without challenges. As the national recession deepened in spring 2009, the hospital was forced to delay construction. But within months – and well ahead of other local hospitals’ whose building projects had been put on hold – the project resumed and continued at a steady pace.

In April 2011, Phase I came to fruition when the Franciscan St. Francis opened a new and larger emergency department, Wound Care Institute, new surgical suites, nursing administration and other new features to the six-story tower. Over the last several months, other clinical and administrative support units have migrated to the new facility, most notably with the opening of the new Franciscan St. Francis Cancer Center, which was dedicated Feb. 9.

Now the sights are set on mid-March and beyond.

“Our plans are solid and we’re adapting when changes are needed.” Jewell said. “We have worked closely with our managers, departments and units and they have provided tremendous support throughout the entire process.”

And for good reason: Moving a hospital – if only seven miles – requires a precise, intricate choreography.

Beech Grove: Foundation of healing

Founded in Beech Grove in 1914 by the Order of Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, St. Francis Hospital boasted 75 patient beds, two operating rooms and the latest in modern technology when it opened.

“We were invited to establish a health-care ministry in Beech Grove and with the help of local Catholic clergy found a location,” said Sister Marlene Shapley, vice president of mission services. “The hospital was founded on our fundamental belief that human needs should be met in a holistic manner.”

For many years, the St. Francis Health officials have worked diligently with Beech Grove elected officials, civic leaders and homeowners to determine the best possible reuses of the facilities and acreage. The hospital is also working with a national broker to market the campus to potential buyers.

Although inpatient and other services will move southward, the Sisters’ commitment to Beech Grove remains intact. Outpatient laboratory, physical therapy and radiology services will remain open at 1600 Albany St. at least through the fall.

Plans also call for the relocation of other clinical services within the Beech Grove community. Security will remain intact throughout the campus.

Additionally, the build-out on a new Franciscan St. Francis Health Immediate Care Center at Thompson Commons at 5210 E. Thompson Road in April, provides Beech Grove residents with another option in health care.

“For nearly a century, we have been a part of the Beech Grove and that community has been an important part of our family – and always shall be,” said Sister Marlene.

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