Franciscan to mark Beech Grove closure

February 27, 2012

It’s the end of the road for Franciscan St. Francis Health in Beech Grove.

The Catholic hospital system will hold a closing service on Wednesday at its Beech Grove hospital, and within the next two and a half weeks it will end all inpatient operations at the facility.

Franciscan announced five years ago that it would consolidate its Beech Grove operations into an expanded facility seven miles south, near Interstate 65 and Emerson Avenue. The last inpatient department to close at Beech Grove will be its emergency room, on March 16.

The Beech Grove hospital was founded in 1914 by the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, an order of nuns based in Mishawaka.

But it has fallen victim to the need for hospitals to attract patients paying with private health insurance, which pays generous prices compared to government sponsored health plans such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Such patients have for decades been gathering more in outlying suburbs such as Greenwood and Mooresville, where Franciscan also has a hospital. Franciscan also is building out an outpatient center with six inpatient beds in Carmel, the most coveted area for well-heeled patients.

The 900,000-square-foot Beech Grove campus proved problematic for two other reasons, as well. It was primarily an inpatient facility, even though the vast majority of patients are now seen on an outpatient basis. Also, Franciscan had no more land on which it could expand or reconfigure its facility.

“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,” said Bob Brody, CEO of Franciscan St. Francis.

Franciscan officials reiterated that they will keep an outpatient presence in Beech Grove. Outpatient laboratory, physical therapy and radiology services will remain open at 1600 Albany St. at least through the fall. Also, Beech Grove-area residents with minor ailments could visit the St. Francis Medical Group After-Hours Clinic at 2030 Churchman Ave.



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