Changes could be coming to IU Health downtown hospitals

(WISH Photo, file)
(WISH Photo, file)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – New reports suggest there may be changes coming to two downtown Indianapolis hospitals.

Earlier this month, I-Team 8 received an internal memo reporting “excess capacity” at University Health and Methodist Hospital, both part of the IU Health system. The memo said IU Health was considering a more “streamlined” operation because these two buildings are so close to each other.

On Friday night, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported that either University or Methodist Hospital could close or be converted for another use.

On June 5, in response to the I-Team 8 report, IU Health officials said they had no plans to close any of their downtown hospitals.

Whitney Ertel, Director of Public Relations, told 24-Hour News 8 that IU Health prefers to use the word “consolidating” rather than “closing” — if that becomes the direction they take. If a hospital were to leave a building, other medical or professional offices could move in to the space, Ertel said on Friday.

Ertel said IU Health is still committed to downtown and to its association with the medical school. However, changes in medical care are forcing a search “for natural efficiencies.”

Nationwide, hospitals are seeing a decline in inpatient stays, while outpatient visits are going up, Ertel said. Hospital leaders must decide what makes the most sense for their facilities.

Ertel predicted that by this fall, the management team will have “a strong direction” about the future of these hospitals.

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