MICHIGAN CITY | One year ago, on a cold, snowy Saturday morning, about 50 patients were moved into the new Franciscan Health Michigan City hospital as it opened its doors for the first time.
Hospital leaders reflected on the events of the past year as they kicked off a weeklong anniversary celebration on Monday, Jan. 20, gathering in the hospital lobby to thank staff members for their efforts.
“It is our people who make the difference, it is each and every one of you that make us great,” said Franciscan Health Michigan City President and CEO Dean Mazzoni. “I want to take a moment to thank every person on our incredible team for the important work that you do and the services you provide. Each member of our team, by living our values every day, makes a positive and memorable difference in the lives of our patients and their families.”
Trish Weber, vice president of operations and chief nursing officer, tallied up the increases of the past year, with more babies delivered, a growing number of emergency room visits and additional operating room cases. Weber said the volume of OR cases has prompted the decision to add two new OR suites at the hospital.
Vice President of Clinical Support Services Jill Nygren said listening to the voices of patients and caregivers and taking staff members input has led to improvements in registration processes, wait times, scheduling and patient care. “The best is yet to come, and our journey will continue,” she added.
Sister Petra Nielsen, vice president of mission integration said, “The mission spirit here is something that we should all be proud of.” She pointed to the installation of the Safe Haven Baby Box as part of that mission, providing a safe place for a mother in crisis to leave her infant. The hospital has also provided tens of millions of dollars in community benefits, including charity care to those in need.
Dr. Anil Chawla, MD, vice president of medical affairs, highlighted the addition of 59 physicians and 24 nurse practitioners in Michigan City, improving primary care access with same-day appointments. “The new facilities are attracting new providers to the community and we are filling the gaps in services,” he said.
Expanded services at the hospital include the new bariatric services program, the first in LaPorte County, and the GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) Clinic with state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment options. The past year has also seen expanded access to physician specialists in the areas of urology, interventional cardiology, cardiac electrophysiology and neurology.
The site of the former Franciscan Health Michigan City on Homer Street is still in use, serving as a Franciscan ExpressCare facility and providing extended healthcare coverage to the area.
Mazzoni reflected on the journey that began on July 2, 1903 with the arrival of Sister Genevieve and Sister Valeria of the Sisters of St. Francis in Michigan City to open St. Anthony Hospital. “It is our great people today who carry on our important mission of continuing Christ’s ministry in our Franciscan tradition,” he said.
Weber echoed those sentiments, “It’s our family, it’s our people and how much we care for each other and those that are entrusted to our care.”