Porter Health creates a golden opportunity for region

Written by Nicholas Serrano. Posted in Cover Story, Featured

Published on August 18, 2011 with No Comments

by Nicholas Serrano

A preview of the things to come for at least the next 70 years of healthcare in Porter County was unveiled to the media on Aug. 3.

Porter Health System’s new hospital, currently reaching the midway of its construction, will represent the future. It’s a future filled with expansion, excellence, innovation and, at its core, the benefit of the local people.

From start to finish, this hospital has been a positive ongoing process, overcoming many obstacles and hurdles but in the process it has been a blessing for all parties involved.

From an economic standpoint, at a time when the local economy needed a boost, the construction of this hospital projected an estimated 600 jobs for local residents.

According to Porter Health Systems CEO John Nalli, in the month of June 2011 alone, 445 people have been employed and he expects this trend to continue for the next year until the construction is complete. Thus far, 36 Northwest Indiana and Chicago companies represent over 97 percent of the work being done on the hospital. Nalli said that once the hospital is open 120 additional jobs will be created within two years, spanning everywhere from janitorial work to neurosurgeons.

“The construction of this facility represents a phenomenal trifecta: great architectural design, being built by a timely and efficient construction group which is showcasing amazing local talent,” said Nalli.

Aside from discussing the immediate economic benefits of the construction, Nalli’s media address and subsequent tour of the facility yielded a glimpse into the leaps and bounds of both hospital architectural design and the technology which will fill it. The facility, which will span 445,000 square-feet, is designed with the emphasis of getting patients to their respective areas of treatment in as little time as possible.

The idea is to maximize the care patients receive minutes after entering the hospital. Nalli discussed the importance of the “golden hour,” referencing a medical study which concluded that patients benefit most from treatment received within the first hour.

“It’s the most important time period in dealing with a patient’s health needs and most directly affects their outcome, said Nalli.

Nalli discussed how, from the minute a patient enters the building, they will travel as minimal a distance as necessary, bypassing unnecessary stops and check-ins. To that end, the hospital’s architectural design minimizes walking down long hallways and wasted time between areas.

This also includes a “race track” design which puts patient rooms at the outside of the track, operating rooms in the middle and the staff’s area occupies the innermost section. There are even separate elevators for patients and staff.

The new hospital will have 225 patient rooms and is being designed with areas for expansion if necessary. Each room will be a private space for each patient and their families, again, the emphasis being on the patient’s comfort.

Another theme of the construction of the new hospital is its practice of using “green” construction methods.

This is encompassed mainly with the number of materials being reused and recycled. Thus far, 82 percent of material byproducts have been recycled including: 617 tons of concrete, 56 tons of metal and plastic, 643 tons of drywall and 46 tons of paper and cardboard.

Green construction methods, according to Senior Project Manager John Galassini, have led to $10,000 in construction rebates, or roughly $500-700 per month.

The hospital is expected to be completed roughly a year from now, in fall 2012, and upon its completion it will usher in a new period of growth for the region, both in healthcare and in job creation.

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