Hammond taking Franciscan Health to court over downtown hospital and ER closure

ByEric Horng and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Hammond taking Franciscan Health to court over ER closure
Hammond has asked for a temporary restraining order to keep their Franciscan Health ER open beyond the end of this week.

HAMMOND, Ind. (WLS) -- The city of Hammond is taking one of the biggest hospital systems in Indiana to court.

Franciscan Health announced its downtown Hammond hospital would stop accepting ambulances in their emergency department this Friday.

Mayor Thomas McDermott, Jr. said he feels betrayed and blindsided by the closure. He said he was given assurances that at the very least the emergency department would remain when the hospital drastically downsized its operations, but that is also going away.

Last year Franciscan Health announced it was drastically downsizing its Hammond location, which used to be called St. Margaret's Hospital, which had been operating with just 10 inpatient beds along with an emergency department.

But hospital officials said in the past 15 months the location has been averaging fewer than three inpatients a day, and the vast majority of the people who use the ER would be better served with an urgent care or other setting. And so Hammond's only hospital, in this city of nearly 80,000, is ceasing inpatient admissions and closing its emergency department by the end of the year.

Patients are being directed to Franciscan Health's locations in Dyer and Munster.

The city has filed a temporary restraining order Monday afternoon, saying that move would present a health care crisis.