INDIANAPOLIS -- Healthcare access is an ongoing issue for Hoosiers: Indiana ranks 37th nationally in physician access, but a plan to increase healthcare centers in central Indiana could help reach more Hoosiers.
St. Vincent Health is planning to add eight new emergency hospitals and three new outpatient care centers. The so-called micro-hospitals would be open 24-7 with a full staff and a limited number of in-patient beds. All are planned in central Indiana and the three outpatient care centers are planned in Plainfield, Brownsburg and Crawfordsville.
St. Vincent CEO Jonathan Nalli said Hoosiers need a more targeted approach to health care.
"Smaller access to care that is more efficient and effective and addresses my needs when and where I want them," Nalli said.
Health care access is more of a problem for people in Indiana’s rural counties. Purdue Professor Brigette Waldorf co-authored a study about care access in Indiana and said diverse economic and geographic conditions play into the urban/rural disparity.
"It’s, of course, not just the distances people have to go to access primary care, there are also problems with transportation," Waldrof said.
Nalli said the core of the network’s access strategy is to make sure people can first connect with a primary care physician.
"Helping to educate our patient population throughout Indiana is that if you have a non-life- threatening emergency the first access point is to call your primary care physician office," Nalli explained.
The ambulatory centers and one of the hospitals are expected to open next year. There’s no scheduled opening date for the seven remaining hospitals.