On a brisk September afternoon, NorthShore Health Centers broke ground on their new flagship medical facility in Portage. The large health center will include a wide variety of services under one roof, as well as their administration. Excitement stirred from the attendees, which included NorthShore staff, politicians, and members of the community.
NorthShore is more than just another health care center. NorthShore is a federally qualified, non-profit health service that provides care to everyone, regardless of their insurance status. Its services are vast, including dentistry, prenatal care, and optometry, to name a few.
Andy Maletta, Director of Economic Development for the City of Portage, said, “This is a really big deal. Especially the fact that [NorthShore] started here in Portage.”
According to Maletta, NorthShore had quaint beginnings in Portage as a small operation.
“To be able to build [NorthShore] to what it is, a facility available for their health care needs, and bring it back home to Portage means a lot to the city and residents,” Maletta said.
“What started as a one site clinic has grown to seven sites,” said Ken Elwood, a lawyer with Rhame & Elwood Law Firm who has donated his time to NorthShore Health Centers for years. “This will be our flagship facility. [Building this facility] means more affordable and available health care for more people.”
Jeff Good, Porter County Commissioners President, said building the new facility inspires other developers to look at the area and consider building, bringing further growth and benefits to the Portage community.
“Anytime you are upgrading your medical services for the community, you are striving to be better,” He said. “It’s a great location.”
Among the speakers for the groundbreaking ceremony was CEO of NorthShore Health Centers, Jan Wilson. Wilson painted a picture for the crowd of just how far NorthShore has grown.
“We started with 700 patients. This year, we have served 72,000 people and delivered 1,221 babies,” Wilson said. “We are the second largest federally qualified facility in the state.”
Wilson expressed pride in NorthShore’s success and believes that the quality of service has made the difference, along with a supportive board of directors.
“They volunteer all their time, they don’t get paid anything, and they are futuristic in their thinking,” Wilson said. “They are always making plans to help us better serve the community. Whether it’s adding an OB doctor or put a pharmacy in, they make sure we have urgent care.”
Wilson also noted that NorthShore’s success was due to the efforts of the staff. She said “We have experts, well-trained physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, dentists, behavioral health specialists, optometrists, radiologists, and more. They all care very much and do their best every day.”
Congressman Pete Visclosky was a speaker during the groundbreaking ceremony. Wilson deemed Visclosky a “champion for healthcare in Northwest Indiana.” Visclosky, who has a personal connection to NorthShore and its services in the past.
“On a personal note...this community health center is for everyone. I have, in fact, used services in NorthShore in Lake Station,” Visclosky said. “I appreciate everyone connected with NorthShore, for the time of their life they’ve given all of us in the community. I thank them for their talents and expertise. I thank each one of them for their good hearts.”
For more information about NorthShore Health Centers, please visit www.northshorehealth.org.