Gary Methodist breaks ground on new ER, ICU - February 18, 2016

Courtesy of The Times • February 18, 2016

By Giles Bruce

GARY | The new emergency department and intensive care unit at Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus will feature bigger rooms, more technology and increased workflow for shorter wait times, officials said.

At a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, Methodist officials said those amenities will improve the quality of care provided at the Gary facility.

“The renovation of the Northlake department will restructure the design of this space to better support trauma care, to provide improved workflows for our physicians and nurses, to provide greater privacy for our patients and upgraded technology to facilitate the lifesaving work that takes place each and every day in our emergency departments,” Methodist CEO Ray Grady said.

Grady said emergency care is in high demand at the Gary campus, given its proximity to major highways, heavy industry and inner-cities, increasing by 5,000 visits between 2013 and 2015. He predicted that number would grow.

The $10 million project is underway and scheduled to be completed in October. It had to be approved by the Department of Health and Human Services under a 1979 consent decree to keep Methodist from relocating outside of Gary.

The undertaking follows the construction of a new emergency room at the Southlake campus in 2013 and Northlake being designated an “in-process” Level III trauma center in 2014.

“As an only child, growing up I was always used to getting new stuff first. … I kind of took exception to the new ER in Merrillville initially,” said Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson. “But I think the groundbreaking today and the celebration of the new emergency room and the new ICU are really indicative of what community partnership looks like.”

Dr. Mike McGee, director of emergency services for Methodist Hospitals, noted the relationships between hospital executives and local politicians have improved in recent years as has the care provided at Methodist.

“I’ve seen the hospital go down and up,” said Dr. Hakam Safadi, medical director of critical care services for Methodist Hospitals. “Now, thank God, we are up.”
He said the campus will improve even more with the addition of space for families so they can be involved in their loved ones’ care and decentralized nurse pods closer to patient rooms.

The ER is being redesigned with an eye toward fast-tracking patients, no matter the severity of their condition, decreasing wait times.

“We recognize that everybody’s emergency is their emergency,” McGee said. There also will be an overall focus on patient safety and satisfaction, both measures critical to reimbursements under health care reform.

The first floor ICU, adjacent to the ER, will get bigger rooms and become dedicated to surgical, neurological and trauma patients. A new medical ICU will be built on the second floor. There will be a total of 18 ICU beds, up from 12 now.

“We already know that world-class care goes in this very building,” Freeman-Wilson said. “Now, we’ll have a world-class facility to match the care you give every day.”