HAMMOND, Ind. — A large protest took place in Hammond Friday centered on the future of a longtime hospital.
The mayor and several residents took to the streets over Franciscan Health Hammond’s plans to downsize. Mayor Thomas McDermott and others said the hospital is shutting down, but the CEO told WGN News plans are in the works to downsize due to lack of patients.
The building, built in the 1920s, is only being utilized around 30 percent, according to the hospital group.
“Unfortunately the patients aren’t coming like they used to,” said CEO Patrick Maloney. “It’s an outdated model built for something years ago. I’m upset too, I’ve shed tears over this with my employees, so I want to make sure we do this transition in the most compassionate way.”
Maloney said due to a lot of space being not used right now, rather than renovate the building with an estimated cost of $80 million, the hospital wants to instead around $46 million to improve outpatient services. They said they will retain a small number of beds.
“This is a hospital relied upon by a lot of people in this area and they want to move operations to where the wealthy people live and it’s despicable,” said Mayor Thomas McDermott.
Plans will mean fewer employees in Hammond, but Franciscan said they will be working with staff to relocate them to other group hospitals in the area. A timetable for the changes is still up in the area.