Providers increase outpatient service locations to adapt to residents’ needs

In the past, Johnson County residents who suffered broken bones, chest pains or other urgent medical needs had to travel to one of the area’s major hospitals to receive emergency care.

Patients who needed X-rays, CT scans or blood tests needed to see specialists, again at a larger hospital.

But in the coming year, the way that people receive these and other immediate healthcare needs will shift as a new model of treatment emerges.

New medical facilities are under construction throughout Johnson County and will start seeing patients later in 2017. Local residents will have increased access to emergency department, imaging, pharmacy and medical specialists. Health services that normally would have required a 20- or 30-minute drive will now be just miles away.

As changes in the demographics of Johnson County and the way that people get their health care moves toward short same-day visits, these new facilities are examples of local providers evolving and adapting to a changing market.

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“From all of our experience caring for patients in Johnson County, this is clearly an area that is growing. Many of our patients are coming from there,” said James Callaghan, president and chief executive officer of Franciscan Health Indianapolis. “We want to be located where our patients are, so this is an added convenience to our patients to not make the drive to our main campus.”

The trend toward increased outpatient services such as emergency department visits, blood tests and same-day surgery has been growing. Since 1999, outpatient visits per 1,000 Indiana residents have increased from 2,207 visits to 2,942 visits in 2015, according to the American Hospital Association.

Hospitals have had to adapt to the changes in the ways people seek health care, said Larry Heydon, chief executive officer and president of Johnson Memorial Health.

Construction has started on a new 33,000-square-foot Johnson Memorial Health outpatient center with room for laboratory and radiology services, and a new emergency department with a new ambulance drive and bay. That facility will replace the old section of the Franklin hospital built in 1947.

“When our old hospital was built in 1947, much of the care was centered on the in-patient side. There were more overnight stays and often for longer periods of time,” he said. “In today’s world of health care delivery, 85 percent of what we do is outpatient, quick in-and-out. You may be in the hospital for three or four hours, then go home. We had to redo our campus with the focus on the outpatient mindset.”

Officials have said the new emergency and outpatient services areas are needed to reduce wait times and meet an increasing demand for services, including X-rays, scans and blood work. The facility is expected to be done in November 2019.

In late 2017, Johnson Memorial Health also opened its 20,400-square-foot rehabilitation center. The new facility houses physical, occupational and speech therapists, orthopedic surgeons and the pain care center.

Demand for these services has been growing, which drove the decision to build the center. Johnson Memorial has offered these types of services at different locations throughout the county in the past, but the new center offers them all in one state-of-the-art facility.

“We could better package our services together,” Heydon said.

The newest healthcare provider to come to Johnson County is St. Vincent Health, which has plans to open two of its neighborhood hospitals this year. One of the facilities will be located just north of Greenwood on Emerson Avenue, while the other will be in the Center Grove area along State Road 135.

St. Vincent already has opened three of the small-scale hospitals in central Indiana, with five more opening soon in places such as Castleton, Brownsburg and Noblesville.

The neighborhood hospitals will each feature a 24-hour emergency room for immediate health crises, eight hospital beds for those who need overnight observation or care, as well as clinical labs and imaging in case people need X-rays or CT scans.

The move toward small-scale hospitals, with emergency departments and limited beds for 24-hour care, has been growing throughout Indiana and the country as a whole.

Franciscan Health Indianapolis previously had started construction on a medical complex on Stones Crossing Road, combining a medical office with a microhospital and emergency department.

But hospital officials have decided to hold off on starting the microhospital component, Callaghan said. Uncertainty at the federal level with how Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements would be handled for a smaller hospital facility made it necessary to pause on that aspect, Callaghan said.

“We’re going to watch and see how the development of the medical facility is, and watching national and state healthcare legislation in regard to hospital policy and reimbursement. As that becomes clear, we’ll decide on a hospital capability there,” he said.

Construction is ongoing on the new 87,000-square-foot, $35 million medical office facility, though. Patients will be able to receive services such as diagnostic imaging, lab work and rehabilitation, as well as see specialists focused on orthopedics, sports medicine, breast care, dermatology, family medicine and pediatrics.

A medical spa, vein center, cafe and community meeting place will also be included. Franciscan Health Indianapolis also is adding an urgent care center for more immediate patient needs.

Features such as virtual care, where patients can speak with a physician or nurse-practitioner through video-chat, have been added.

“This can be the anchor for so many of the needs, from primary care to rehab and therapy for people, lots of specialty services, even a community center,” Callaghan said. “We think that it will be a really great access point for our community there in the area. We think it will be a very efficient place to go to get health care.”

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Here is a look at healthcare facilities under development in the county:

St. Vincent Health Neighborhood Hospitals

Where: 8541 S. Emerson Ave., Indianapolis; 5911 S. State Road 135, Greenwood

What: A small-scale facility dubbed a “neighborhood hospital” featuring an emergency department with eight rooms for patients who require overnight stays for observation, additional testing and overnight care. The facilities will have in-house clinical labs, pharmacy and radiology and imaging services.

Expected to open: 2018

Franciscan Health Stones Crossing

Where: 1703 W. Stones Crossing Road, Greenwood

What: An outpatient medical complex that will feature diagnostic imaging, rehabilitation services, specialists focused on orthopedics, sports medicine, breast care and dermatology, family medicine, pediatrics and mammography, among other offerings.

Expected to open: December 2018

Johnson Memorial Health

Where: East side of the hospital’s existing campus on West Jefferson Street, Franklin

What: A new outpatient center with room for laboratory and radiology services, and a new emergency department with a new ambulance drive and bay.

Expected to open: November 2019