Making quality healthcare accessible to all

Making quality healthcare accessible to all
By: Karin Woodside Last Updated: January 17, 2014

“Our philosophy is to bring services to people who otherwise could not access them,” stated Jan Wilson, CEO of NorthShore Health Centers, as she addressed the crowd gathered to celebrate the organization’s newest location in Hammond. 6920 Indianapolis Blvd is the 11th location to open as a part of NorthShore’s mission to bring quality healthcare the uninsured and the underinsured.

With locations already in Portage, Lake Station, and Merrillville, the group evaluated their client base in order to see what community was most in need of a facility and the answer was obvious. “We currently have 1,000 patients from Hammond that were driving all the way to Lake Station or Portage to see our doctors, because there was no healthcare for people that did not have a way to pay,” said Wilson. “We know we can do a lot of good here.”

“We serve the uninsured, the underinsured, but we also serve the insured, providing quality health,” stated NorthShore Board President Scott Cherry. “When you walk into this place, you should feel like you do walking into any health center anywhere.”

The Hammond location offers 18 patient rooms, ultrasound and X-ray capabilities and 5 dental spaces, along with the full spectrum of family care services including prenatal, pediatrics, and ob/gyn, “everything you need to have done in a one-stop-shop,” shared Laura Lovell, a Community Outreach Coordinator for NorthShore.

Fellow Community Outreach Coordinator Maysha Carlson expanded on Lovell’s thoughts. “It’s a big step towards healthcare. There are so many people out here that need health care and dental care, and this just makes it one step closer for them. They can come here and get everything done, from seeing the doctor to getting blood work done, ultrasounds, X-rays, dental care, free pregnancy testing, we have everything. Nobody is turned away.”

In March, the location will welcome another aspect of healthcare to the facility, as they will offer Urgent Care services. “Instead of going to the local hospital or ER, we can treat it here, save a lot of money,” Carlson continued.

Among the many honored guests in attendance, the grand opening welcomed several city of Hammond employees, including Mayor Thomas McDermott, who was quick to express his excitement about NorthShore choosing the city as its newest service area.

“One of the good things I see here is a neighborhood establishment that allows people with medical needs and dental needs to come and get it done at a very reasonable price. I think that’s a positive thing,” he said. “It’s a hard-working city. Unfortunately in Hammond, we do have a lot of people who are struggling. And this is going to fit right in the sweet spot.“

“Congratulations NorthShore. We’re proud to have you!”

Mark Lopez, Chief of Staff for Congressman Pete Visclosky, also made his enthusiasm for the expansion known.

“This facility will serve the un- and underinsured and will give them the confidence and certainty when they walk in these doors, they will not be turned away. That is immeasurable,” he stated. “And because of this facility being located in the great city of Hammond, Indiana, it’s going to be reassuring to many people that they have a place to go.”

Seventeen years ago, this reach was just a dream. But anyone who knows Wilson knows she does not take “no” for an answer and because of her hard work, and the hard work of those who have believed in this idea, NorthShore continues to grow and meet the needs of the community.

“One of my staff members gave me this saying. It sits on my desk and reminds me of who we, NorthShore, are: ‘Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than other people think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. And expect more than others think is possible.’ That is why we are here today.”