Methodist Hospital future being discussed

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Methodist Hospitals’ Northlake Campus in Gary, IN

The Methodist Hospitals’ Board of Directors is reviewing the future of Methodist Hospitals. At issue is whether the hospital system which operates two facilities in Northwest Indiana, will continue as an independent facility or partner with another health care system.

It has been reported that the board has been in discussions with Franciscan Health, which currently has several hospitals within its system. However, during a meeting with a number of physicians in practice at Methodist, the majority of the doctors indicated displeasure with the Franciscan system.

According to State Rep. Charlie Brown who maintains contact with Methodist President and CEO Ray Grady, Methodist Hospitals sent out Requests For Proposals to a number of health systems. Out of the 16 responses the board of directors narrowed them down to three candidates. “It is my understanding that the board is still in discussions with the three finalists, and that the board has agreed to make public their choice when everything is finalized.”

Another concern that the board has to consider as they move forward is the 1979 federal consent decree that Methodist is under. The decree was issued during the administration of then Gary Mayor Richard G. Hatcher. It requires that there be parity between Methodist Hospitals’ North and South Lake Campuses. Any discussion of selling the hospital would be void as long as the decree is in effect.

“Actually the decree is in effect until Richard Hatcher or I say that it is no longer so,” said Brown, one of the plaintiffs that sued Methodist in Federal Court.

President and CEO Ray Grady,
President and CEO Ray Grady,

Earlier, Methodist President and CEO Ray Grady issued a statement regarding what he and the board of Directors were in engaged in.

“Methodist Hospitals’ Board of Directors is continuing to explore whether Methodist Hospitals should remain independent or partner with another leading health care system. We have narrowed the list of potential partners and the Board is currently conducting its due diligence to carefully examine and evaluate the potential partners to determine who can best serve our communities. At this time, no definitive agreement has been made. Our promise is to take our time to thoughtfully evaluate what is in the best interest of our patients, employees, physicians and the communities we serve. Our hope is to have more information to share with you before the end of the year.”

Recently Grady met with members of the Northwest Indiana Federation of Interfaith Organizations to express their concerns regarding Methodist Hospitals. The members shared their concern that the hospital remains a source for providing quality care for the residents of Gary and Northwest Indiana. During the meeting Grady assured the members that they would be kept up to date on the negotiations and that there will be community forums held to update the community of the progress.

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