By Josh Sigler
WABASH, Ind. – Alongside the new Parkview Wabash Hospital construction, Wabash residents have noticed a new, slightly smaller campus going up across Alber Street near Miller’s Merry Manor.
Thursday at Wellbrooke of Wabash, Dukes Hospital CEO Debra Close gave the public some details about what the complex will serve as, as well as a possibly opening in May.
The complex is Lutheran Health-affiliated, and will house a fully equipped RediMed walk-in clinic. Lutheran medical offices will also be housed in the complex. Full-service MRI and CT scan will be available, Close said.
The RediMed will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
And, in an attempt to add convenience for Wabash County residents who use Lutheran Health Network, physicians such as interventional cardiologist Dr. Roderick Sawyer will have office hours at the new facility, as well as orthopedic physician Daniel Edwards.
Sawyer will be here five days a week. And, an interventionist will be in the office at least one day a week, Close said.
Lutheran currently houses its OBGYN doctors in the Midwest Eye building. They are going to remain in place for the time being, but Close said officials are looking at incorporating them into the new facility, as well.
“We’re trying to make everything as convenient for you as we can,” Close said. “So, we’re in the process of deciding which other specialists the community needs to put in that building. The hope is to have everything closer to home for you. We won’t be able to do brain surgery or a lot of the big ortho surgeries there. But, we’re trying to get it as convenient as we can for both Miami County and Wabash County when it comes to specialists.”
Close revealed that the Lutheran is targeting a May opening date for the complex, but the exact date will depend on how construction progresses. Close said construction crews are finishing up the interior pieces of the building currently, as well as components such as entranceways and parking lots. Finishing some of those parts are weather-dependent, she said.
“We are keeping an eye on that, but that is our target date to be able to have the physicians in, be open and be ready to serve all of you,” Close added. “The ones that are coming down will continue to come down. And, then we will enhance those services with other (doctors). We should have more cardiac coverage than we’ve had probably ever.”
Lutheran once had oncology services in Wabash County, but those services have since moved to a campus in Miami County. Close said there are discussions about keeping both the Miami County campus and perhaps adding oncology services one day a week at the new Wabash complex.
“Everyone that you’re seeing now should continue to come, plus more,” Close said. “That’s been a big push we’ve had over the last few years. You all have had more specialty coverage than we’ve had in Miami County here in Wabash County. Getting that specialty coverage is important.”
Close said Lutheran is working on finding general practitioners to add to its staff, but added that it’s been a challenge for all health systems nationwide to do so due to a shortage of doctors to choose from.
“If you have grandchildren, if you have great-grandchildren, encourage them to really think about medical school,” Close said. “People really don’t want to put that much time into school it seems lately. But, we really do need locally grown family practice doctors and internal medicine doctors.
“We are extremely excited to be here though and to join forces with you closer to home,” Close added. “I’ve had to travel with my spouse back and forth to Fort Wayne for appointments and things. So, I know how inconvenient that can get, especially when the weather is bad.”