Community health center going up on west side

A new community health center is being built on W. 38th Street.
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A new health center on the northwest side will serve the city's most diverse population.

A primary goal in public health is teaching prevention and keeping people out of the hospital. It works best when wide-ranging health care is provided right where the people who rely heavily on the emergency room for primary care live and work.

That's why city leaders picked the Lafayette Square area for a new model of a community health center.

The transformation is already in progress, a vacant Circuit City store is being renovated and doubled in size to create a super-sized community health center.

"Here at 38th Street, at the intersection of Wayne Township and Pike Township, we are focused like a laser on prevention and primary care," said Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO Wishard Health Services.

Renderings reveal the new look of the Eskenazi Health Center, which joins 27 existing Wishard facilities, but is the most comprehensive in its offerings.

"Pharmacy, diagnostic services, complete health services, mental health and, at this site, physical therapy and occupational therapy," Harris said. "Will be just about everything here that doesn't require hospital care."

The site is in the middle of a neighborhood considered the city's most diverse, with residents from 60 countries speaking 60 languages.

"Speaking Spanish first, then we strive to create a patient-centered environment," said Dr. Gloria King, Wishard multicultural affairs director.

The health center is on track to open in the fall of next year, along with the new Wishard Hospital, renamed the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital.

"I am so pleased to say today that we are on schedule and on budget to open the new Lois and Sidney Eskenazi Hospital," said Matthew Gutwein, Health & Hospital of Marion County.

More than 1,000 workers report to the job site each day. Ninety percent of the contracts were awarded to locally-owned businesses.

When it opens a little more than a year from now, the stated goal is to care for all in our community without the need for anything but care.