CEO Raymond Grady Speaks About the Future of Methodist Hospitals at Gary Chamber of Commerce Luncheon - July 10, 2017

Courtesy of NW Indiana Life

Written by Peter Krivas

On Monday, July 10th, Gary Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Charles Hughes, hosted the organization’s monthly luncheon at the Gary Southshore Railcats Administration Building to inform the community of new events going on in the city and the region.

“This is an opportunity to get our members together, increase networking opportunities, and to bring interesting guests in to give us insight and to give tips and inform,” said Hughes of the monthly luncheons.

This month’s guest speaker was Raymond Grady, CEO of Methodist Hospitals, who had a lot to share with the assembled guests about the future of Methodist and its continued dedication to Gary. Central to this speech was the potential partnership with Franciscan Health that Methodist is in the process of looking at.

Asked about having Grady in to speak, Hughes spoke of the organization’s importance to the community in saying, “Here in Gary we’re battling to maintain businesses, Walgreens on Lake Street just closed and Methodist is arguably one of the key businesses in Gary, so it’s very important to see where they are heading and be informed.”

Guests included 3rd district councilwoman Mary Brown, representatives from Centier Bank, Senator Joe Donnelly’s office, Indiana University Northwest and many others.

“We want to update the community on our progress and our discussions with Franciscan about a potential partnership between our two organizations. We believe it will improve care in the community, improve the cost of care and position us for success in the future,” Grady said of the luncheon.

“Most importantly, it’s in the best interests of the patients and families we serve in the Gary and Merrillville communities,” said Grady.

Grady was thorough and concise in his presentation to those assembled about what such a partnership would look like and how it would benefit the hospitals, patients and community. The organization is currently in the due diligence stage, which means they do not yet have a defined agreement and are assessing what such a partnership will involve.

Speaking of the employees at Methodist, Grady reassured the audience that no jobs or benefits would be lost and leadership would remain the same, so the culture that Methodist has worked to build in their facilities will continue if the partnership is agreed upon. Similar departments at each organization would be meeting with one another to understand each other’s work culture as well.

“It’s a big bet,” said Grady, “because it offers us security, peace of mind, and it offers us an opportunity to devote ourselves to long term quality of care, access to care and cost of care.”

As to why Franciscan in particular should be the organization best suited to partner with Methodist, Grady was emphatic in saying, “Out of all the organizations, Franciscan was the only one, the only one, that was willing to support our dedication to the Gary community and our mission of making sure no patient is left behind.”

Three phases Grady highlighted included Franciscan’s commitment to building a new $300 million dollar hospital in Gary, which would make it the largest development in the community in 38 years. Franciscan would also implement the 75-100 million dollars’ worth of improvements at the Southlake Hospital and they have agreed to build a new medical office building next to the proposed hospital, which would be near the IUN campus.

These improvements and developments would provide new jobs and opportunities for the community, and provide important development in the area. All medical services provided at the current Gary hospital would be duplicated at the new facility.

“We’re not leaving. We’re making sure that healthcare services in Gary continue in perpetuity,” said Grady, alluding to the recent closures of Walgreens and Family Dollar that have concerned many community members.

Grady stressed the greater geographic coverage that having a unified network with Franciscan would provide for patients in Northwest Indiana, as it would make Methodist part of an 8 hospital network.

“The days of the standalone hospital are gone,” Grady said of the challenges facing healthcare institutions. “A relationship between our two organizations might offer us the best path forward to challenges we see coming down the pipe.”

The primary focus of his presentation was the advantages in terms of being part of a larger organization and how those combined resources would benefit the patients and communities which Methodist serves. Grady is also committed to being the face of this partnership, saying he would be out in the community keeping everyone informed of where the potential partnership with Franciscan stood in the future.