NorthShore Health Centers’ new $18 million Portage location took a big step towards completion earlier this year after the Portage City Council backed the project which will allow the regional healthcare provider to move forward in building a new flagship facility located on Willowcreek Road past Rt 6.
“Portage Council approval allowed us to use a municipal funded bond,” said David Hall, Chief Administrative Officer with NorthShore Health Centers. “Basically, the bond will allow access to a lower interest rates without putting liability on the municipality.”
NorthShore Health Centers’ new Portage location will reach three stories and cover approximately 51,000 sq./ft. Having this much space will allow NorthShore to combine their three current locations in Portage.
“This new location will combine our current Portage locations, which are Stacy McKay Health Center inside Portage High School, our main medical center on Scottsdale Street, and our Administrative Offices,” said Hall.
NorthShore started as a teen clinic at the Stacy McKay Health Centers inside Portage High School. Since then renovations have been made to add family practice, dental and recently a Nurse Practitioner dedicated to the Portage Township Staff and their families. After the recent renovations at the Stacy McKay Health Center, NorthShore will be keeping part of that location open to continue to provide health services to students and staff, just at a lesser capacity.
“This is one of the main reasons we’re keeping this location open,” Hall said of the McKay location and its recent renovations. “That, and our original desire and mission to provide accessible healthcare for the students.”
Having a larger location in Portage will not only allow NorthShore Health Centers services to be housed under one roof, but it will allow NorthShore to provide expanded services which are not currently available at the Scottsdale Street location.
Services at the new location will include: Pediatrics, OB-GYN, Family Practice, Dental, Optometry, Lab Service, Drive-Thru Pharmacy, X-Ray, Ultrasound and Mammography.
“One of the biggest things that made us realized we needed this space is that right now one-third of our population has to go to Lake County to get an appointment because we’re full or at capacity at our Portage location,” said Hall. “So, this new location is going to be more convenient and it will prevent patients from having to drive to Lake Station, Merrillville, or even over to Chesterton for their appointment.”
“Also, this new location will be offering patients some services that we don’t currently offer in Portage right now,” Hall continued. “Optometry, which we only have in Lake Station at this time, will be available in Portage. We currently have only two dental operatories which creates about a four week wait time to get a dental appointment in Portage. We’ll have eight in our new building. The added space will make it much more convenient for people in Portage to actually use our services, where before we were at capacity with longer wait times.”
Along with the increase in available services at the new Portage location, a greater number of NorthShore personnel on-hand will make it easier for patients and potential patients to access health insurance.
“Besides having more space for services, community members who are uninsured or underinsured will have more opportunities to sign up during open enrollment or insurance,” described Hall. “We’ll have more staff on hand to assist with insurance needs and help provide better access to our care, which is harder to come by right now in Portage.”
NorthShore Health Centers had grown a great deal since CEO, Jan Wilson opened the Stacy McKay Health Center at Portage High School in 1997 making this year NorthShore’s 20th Anniversary. Now with six locations across Lake and Porter Counties, NorthShore is truly reaching their mission to ensure that each individual has a medical home and access to the highest quality healthcare, regardless of sex, age, race, social or cultural standing, and/or ability to pay.
Speaking about the leadership of NorthShore Health Centers CEO, Jan Wilson, Hall said, “She has put her life into NorthShore and without that NorthShore, and this new building, would not exist.”
NorthShore’s leadership is working closely with the project architects to finalize plans for the building now with a proposed groundbreaking in the spring of 2018, and completion around 18 months later.
To find out more about NorthShore Health Centers and the amazing care they provide at locations throughout the region, visit: www.northshorehealth.org/.