Since opening in 2015, NorthShore Health Centers’ Chesterton location has grown to become a vital part of the healthcare provider’s mission to serve Northwest Indiana and, more specifically, the Chesterton area.
Now, with expanded services, more availability to see patients, and additional personnel, NorthShore’s Chesterton location is able to provide broad, extensive care to patients throughout the Duneland region and beyond.
“We now have pediatrics with Dr. Venepalli and OB/GYN with Dr. Hess, Dr. Stankovic, and Dr. Bolonduro, who is our newest doctor from the Mayo Clinic, here five days a week,” said Jacci Pantell, Site Director at NorthShore’s Chesterton location.
Pantell, who joined the NorthShore team six months ago, comes during a time of expansion as the location has grown by 40% over the last year.
“I love it here,” Pantell said. “Their mission really shows that everything that we do is centered around the patients and increasing their health and quality of life. NorthShore has done a lot for the staff as well to continue their engagement and learning. They always put the patients and staff first which is great!”
“We just became a recognized Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) so now all of the NorthShore locations have that recognition,” Pantell added. “It basically means that we’re providing centered care for our patients, and everyone who sees a patient works together collaboratively.”
Each NorthShore site across Northwest Indiana received the highest recognition as a Patient Centered Medical Home thanks to the tireless work of Rachel Mullins, Director of Practice Improvements at NorthShore. Also helping to launch the Chesterton location as a recognized PCMH was Patient Care Coordinator, Rachel Reule, who spoke about the program and what it means for patients.
“What we want is for NorthShore to, essentially, be the home for all of your healthcare needs, all in one building,” Reule said. “NorthShore is constantly taking on new patients and that’s an asset because many doctors’ offices are too full or patients can’t get in for weeks. These people need to be seen for a variety of serious issues from uncontrolled diabetes to suicidal ideation.”
“Based on what the patient's needs are, we have tons of resources, depending on the crisis or whatever the situation may be, that can help. Healthcare is expensive so NorthShore is an incredible blessing for many of the patients we see who are living in poverty.”
Dr. Preethi Venepalli, a pediatrician with NorthShore, has been at the Chesterton location for the last year and is enjoying being part of the NorthShore and Chesterton communities.
“As the full time pediatrician at Chesterton for the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to build relationships with families,” Dr. Venepalli said. “Having an OB here five days a week means that we can offer prenatal care, I can meet the moms, and start seeing the babies past nursery discharge. After high school graduation, they can continue care with our excellent Family Practice practitioners, Shannon Gavin and Lisa Nichols.”
“NorthShore Chesterton is a small community within a small community,” Venepalli noted. “We see our patients when out at the grocery store or when frequenting their businesses. We consider our patients and their families to be part of our Chesterton community.”
Family Care Nurse Practitioner, Lisa Nichols, added, "The more resources and outlets we have access to ultimately allows us to share those with the communities and populations that need them the most. As a site of smaller proportion, we are able to provide superior, individualized quality care for our patients and their families."
Part of what makes the Chesterton location special is the emphasis that the NorthShore team puts on In-Reach, and the desire to meet every need a patient might have in their life. The In-Reach department at NorthShore Health Centers can assist with consumers getting health coverage through the Affordable Care Act, Healthy Indiana plan and Hoosier Health Wise Medicaid. They can also help with getting patients in touch with social service agencies if needed.
Amy Ruiz is part of the In-Reach Team at NorthShore Chesterton and she spoke about what makes the place special.
“What I see as special is that we are bringing people here all the way from Demotte, Michigan City and La Porte,” Ruiz said. “That says a lot about how people feel about us. We have even had people from Hammond come to Chesterton because they love our staff. I’m so thankful that I work in Chesterton.”
“Patients and our employees love the Chesterton location,” concluded Ruiz. “People who have ignored their health are now getting help, and it feels so great to help all of these people in need.”
At NorthShore’s Chesterton location, healthcare providers are able to provide in-depth, individualized care for each patient and their family. With things like patient care and In-Reach coordinators, behavioral health, labs, and family practice and OB/GYN five days per week, the site is better able to serve patients and connect them with the resources they need to stay healthy and improve their quality of life.
To find out more about NorthShore Health Centers, visit: www.northshorehealth.org/