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St. Francis Hospital project targets Greenwood's growth

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It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is going to build an emergency room and medical office complex near Greenwood: The area has been growing 10 times faster than the city of Indianapolis over the past decade.

OTB healthcare St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is the city’s fourth-largest hospital system. (IBJ File Photo)

The $20 million facility, for which St. Francis disclosed its plans in late November, would attempt to capture some of the 32-percent growth in population Greenwood experienced from 2000 to 2009, according to Census Bureau estimates.

“That’s a fast-growing area,” said St. Francis spokesman Joe Stuteville, adding, “We just felt there was a particular need for ER services.”

The free-standing ER, which is projected to open in September 2012, would be the third such facility in the Indianapolis area. St. Vincent Health opened a free-standing ER in Fishers in 2008. And Witham Health Services opened one outside Zionsville in 2009.

Karlsberger, a health care architectural firm in Columbus, Ohio, describes the free-standing ER as a key hospital strategy to increase market share in lucrative suburban communities while establishing a presence in locations that are likely to need a full-service hospital.

For 10 years, St. Francis has owned the 50-acre site where the new ER will be built, along State Road 37 at Fairview Road. It was planning to build a facility there a couple of years ago, but the recession and Wall Street meltdown forced it to wait until more favorable financial times.

The new facility is roughly a 10-mile drive from either St. Francis Hospital in Mooresville or St. Francis Hospital in Indianapolis.

The Indianapolis campus is undergoing an expansion of its emergency room in a project that will be completed by May 2012. St. Francis will be ending emergency and inpatient services at its oldest hospital in Beech Grove once the expansion at the Indianapolis campus is complete.

But in spite of the proximity of St. Francis’ existing hospitals, Greenwood’s growth—roughly equal to what Carmel and Noblesville have experienced this decade—convinced St. Francis that there is an unmet need. Also, larger rivals Clarian Health and Community Health Network have either expanded or explored expanding facilities in Indianapolis’ southern suburbs, posing a threat to St. Francis’ dominance of the region.

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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

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