Franciscan Health Michigan City’s Homer Street campus begins next era, launching services for new mothers and senior citizens

Franciscan Health Michigan City’s Homer Street campus begins next era, launching services for new mothers and senior citizens

 A $20 million project to reimagine the site of the former Franciscan Health Michigan City hospital is coming to fruition as community-focused services providing care for new mothers and the elderly begin.

The campus at 301 W. Homer St. has undergone partial demolition and renovation for the arrival of an inpatient behavioral health unit, the new Franciscan Senior Health and Wellness Program for the All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) and the Prenatal Assistance Program.

On Dec. 6, the Prenatal Assistance Program opened its doors to expectant mothers, helping them receive access to vital prenatal care. The program is part of Franciscan Health Michigan City’s participation in the Safety PIN (Protecting Indiana’s Newborns) grant provided by the Indiana Department of Health and administered by Beacon Health System to lower infant mortality in Northern Indiana.

Prenatal Care Coordinator Jodi Perrine said the Prenatal Assistance Program is a central hub that provides prenatal and post-partum education and referral to a physician if a woman doesn’t already have one. It can also help navigate services, including Medicaid, WIC and SNAP. WIC, the supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children, already leases space in the same building.

“We follow them from prenatal, all the way through the child’s first birthday,” Perrine said. “We want to connect women to the care and services they need to ensure a healthy pregnancy, delivery and the best start for their baby.”

The Prenatal Assistance Program includes a BABE store incentive program at the Homer Street campus. Expectant mothers and parents are offered incentives to earn coupons through prenatal appointments and attending parenting classes. The coupons may be redeemed at the BABE store for essential supplies, from diapers to childproofing essentials.

For more information, or to enroll in the Prenatal Assistance Program, call (219) 214-4700.

Franciscan Health Michigan City’s PACE program will begin on Jan. 1 but is already taking enrollments from those 55 and older in the geographic area covered by the program, including all LaPorte County, most of Porter County and part of St. Joseph County around New Carlisle. This is the third PACE location for Franciscan in the state, with additional locations in Dyer and Indianapolis.

Michigan City PACE Center Manager Melissa DeSutter is eager to educate senior citizens on the resources available to them at the facilities on the ground floor of the Homer Street campus. Those include a clinic with examination rooms where participants receive their primary care, a day room for socialization and life enrichment activities, a physical therapy space and a community room, where meetings and events can be hosted.

“We are there to support their healthcare journey every step of the way,” she said. “From doctor’s appointments to medication to equipment, supplies they may need in the home, transportation to healthcare appointments, any services that they may need, we coordinate those. PACE is a one-stop shop for the senior’s healthcare needs,” she said, noting that the program is both the provider and the payer for all services.

No referral is needed to enroll in PACE, and DeSutter encourages those interested to call (219) 214-4619 to learn more and take a personal tour. “If somebody says I don’t know if PACE is for me, I would say if you or a loved one are having challenges balancing all your doctor’s appointments, keeping your medications straight or unsure how to set up services, PACE can help. If you’re having challenges with going to the hospital frequently, if you’re concerned about your care needs, I would call us and have a conversation.”

“The whole goal is to keep people living as independently as possible in their home environment,” DeSutter said. “This model of care is not for everyone, but for the right person, it can really change the way their life looks as they age.”

“There is nothing else like the PACE model anywhere in our community,” DeSutter said. “I’ve seen what the program can do for families and the senior. It’s completely a game changer in terms of what life can look like in older age.”

The relocation of Franciscan Health Michigan City’s 14-bed inpatient behavioral unit took place in November. “Relocating this service back to the Homer Street campus allows us to consider growing behavioral health services there in the future to address existing gaps in behavioral healthcare in our community,” said Franciscan Health Michigan City President and CEO Dean Mazzoni.

Mazzoni also noted that the move has freed space on the Franciscan Way campus to expand a much needed 22-bed medical/surgical unit to match the growth and demand for inpatient services at the new hospital.