Court’s ruling leads to imminent closing at Franciscan Health Hammond
HAMMOND, Ind. (WISH) — Franciscan Health Hammond will close its emergency room at noon Saturday after an Indiana appeal court judge’s ruling Friday.
Franciscan Alliance Inc. had cited a lack of patient demand and staffing shortages for the hospital closing.
The emergency medical services coordinator for the facility announced the emergency room will be reduced to a “skeleton crew” at midnight Friday, although the ER will remain open until noon Saturday. After that time, ambulances will be diverted to other faculties.
The action comes after the Indiana Court of Appeals on Friday stayed a preliminary injunction, issued Dec. 22 by a Lake Superior Court judge, that would have required Mishawaka-based Franciscan Alliance to keep the 124-year-old hospital’s emergency room open through September.
Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott said Friday afternoon on Twitter, “@MyFranciscan’s decision to close its ER downtown @cityofhammond will leave many #Hoosiers in a health care desert. Shame on Franciscan & how they abandoned their lifelong patients in Hammond & south Chicago. They are bankers cloaked in divine clothing who pay ZERO in taxes!”
McDermott, who fought the closure, said there was no worthwhile legal recourse for the city to pursue following the hospital’s appeal. “They’re going to tear everything out of there, and I wouldn’t be shocked if they threw a grenade in there on their way out.”
Franciscan Health and other providers have emergency departments elsewhere northwest Indiana.
Hammond’s estimated population is 77,000.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
“Franciscan Alliance is grateful for the Court of Appeals order. As such, Franciscan will proceed with ceasing operations and closing the emergency department as of Dec. 31, 2022. As most ambulances have already stopped bringing patients to Franciscan Health Hammond, we do not expect that closing the Emergency Department will cause disruption in emergency medical care for residents. As we pointed out to the Court of Appeals, many Hammond neighborhoods are closer to other hospitals within the region than they were to Franciscan Health Hammond.
“We believe this decision prioritizes patient safety, which has been our primary concern throughout the legal proceedings.
“Franciscan Health does not anticipate releasing more information about the closure or appellate court order at this time.”
Barbara Anderson, chief executive officer and president of Franciscan Health Hammond, Dyer and Munster