Mayor surprised to hear about $500 million investment

FILE - Lutheran Hospital

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Call it a pleasant surprise. Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry said he heard something was brewing at Lutheran Health Network through social media, and was thrilled when the announcement of a $500 million investment came out Thursday evening.

“Obviously I’m not only a little surprised because I didn’t know it was coming, but thrilled of the fact that the Lutheran Network, that Community hospital systems, decided that it was worth investing in our community,” Henry said.

Officials said the project is expected to enhance patient care, increase access to health services and upgrade its hospital facilities. They hope the investment will positively impact thousands of patients in the region obtain highest level of healthcare.

“To invest over $500 million in making sure that their respective hospitals are the best that they can be, again I think says a tremendous amount not only about Lutheran Network but about Fort Wayne too,” Henry said.

FILE: Lutheran Hospital

The capital investment plan will include the following projects:

FACILITY REFRESH: Top to bottom renovation of Lutheran Hospital to upgrade and update numerous patient and guest services areas with a focus on convenient access, modern design and efficient patient care.

EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT EXPANSION: Major renovation of the hospital’s emergency department, including a new eight-bed transition unit for short-term patient monitoring, which will free up exam and treatment space during busy periods to improve patient wait times. Phase one of this project will begin the week of May 15.

HEART AND VASCULAR CENTER: Development of a comprehensive outpatient cardiovascular center attached to the existing heart pavilion to bring all specialized services and cardiovascular physician practices to one facility for ease of patient access.

ADVANCED DIGESTIVE TREATMENT CENTER: Consolidation of two separate endoscopy suites, diagnostic testing and therapeutics into one advanced care setting to increase availability of procedures for the growing number of patients with digestive concerns.

OUTPATIENT CENTERS: Multiple new outpatient centers providing close-to-home urgent and walk-in care, diagnostic imaging, laboratory, family medicine, therapies and other healthcare services in counties beyond Allen County.

The projects will take about five or six years to complete and will add several construction jobs in the process.

“There’s no question it’s going to add to the economic development base because it’s going to attract individuals who want to work in the healthcare field. I think it will attract perhaps more physicians, so I think the spin off can be enormous,” Henry said.

A representative from Lutheran Health Network was not available for an interview Friday.