La PORTE — Work on the new joint venture between two area health care giants is only a few weeks from completion.
On Monday, Larsen Kneller, a physician with Beacon Medical Group La Porte, provided members of the Rotary Club of La Porte with an update on the new $21.6 million Franciscan Beacon Hospital currently under construction in La Porte.
Building on the facility – a massive expansion to the existing Beacon medical center at 900 I Street – is expected to wrap up in about a month, with officials hoping to open to the public by summer, Kneller said.
The project is adding 29,000-square-feet to the existing facility at the campus, which will house a full-service, 10-bed emergency care department, eight beds for short-term care patients and space for an expanded laboratory.
Construction crews are also renovating the existing 19,000-square-foot building, to have it match the updated appearance of the new ER area, Kneller said.
“It’s beginning to show its age, too,” the physician said about the current clinic offices.
The hospital is the result of a 50/50 partnership between Beacon Health System and Franciscan Health, which were already sharing provider offices inside the Beacon Medical Group La Porte facility.
The health care companies spent several years planning to create an expanded medical complex in La Porte before breaking ground on the project last fall.
The hospital will ensure that La Porte residents can access a broader spectrum of medical care, including emergency services, right in their backyards, Kneller said.
If patients need more intense treatment, Michigan City’s Franciscan Hospital and South Bend’s Memorial Hospital are just miles away, the doctor added.
“Short of the kind of ultra-rare stuff that needs to go to the university, what we have will take care of everything – and keep you relatively close by,” he said.
The hospital is the most significant addition in the life of the La Porte medical facility, which has operated since 1969, Kneller said.
“This year, we’re celebrating our 51st anniversary, which I think is pretty good for any business in the community,” he said.
In 1994, the office joined the Memorial Hospital (which later partnered with Elkhart General Hospital to form Beacon Health) system, which would add 16,000 square feet to the building in 1999, Kneller said.
The doctor, who practices family medicine at the facility, is one of more than a dozen physicians and specialists operating out of the center.
In addition to family medicine, Beacon offers cardiology, neurology, orthopedics other services. Several Franciscan providers also use the office, providing family medicine, pulmonary and other kinds of treatment.
The expanded Franciscan Beacon Hospital will offer these existing care options and more to the greater La Porte community.
“In addition to emergency and short-term inpatient care, the hospital will provide expanded testing through its new, more extensive lab, which will operate 24 hours a day,” Kneller said.
“In addition to the X-ray and CT scanning offered at the existing center, staff will also be able to conduct MRIs, mammograms and DEXA scans,” Kneller said.
“The new facility will also have wards for trauma and behavioral health needs, as well as an isolation room to treat patients who may have highly infectious diseases,” the doctor said.