On Tuesday evening, a ribbon cutting ceremony took place at the new Community Healthcare System Occupational Health clinic in Valparaiso to celebrate the location’s opening this month. The clinic is located at 1051 Southpoint Circle, south of US 30 and just west of Marsh St. This is the fifth Occupational Health location that Community Healthcare System has launched in Northwest Indiana.
Community Healthcare System is a Northwest Indiana-based nonprofit healthcare system that includes three area hospitals including Community Hospital in Munster, St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart. St. Mary Medical Center has several outpatient, clinic and physician practice locations in Valparaiso.
Employment is on the rise, and convenient occupational medical services are an important asset to local employers, according to city and healthcare system officials. Mark Savage, Director of Operations for Occupational Health, said that the new clinic location will provide a great service to local employers.
"We work with employers to help employees stay healthy on the job," Savage said. "We've been working on this for a year and we're so excited that it's finally here. One of the sayings we have in this business is that it's better to build a fence at the top of a cliff than it is to put an ambulance at the bottom.
“And so, that's what we do,” he added. “We focus on treating injuries after people get hurt at work, and we also work with companies to help them prevent injuries, too.”
Inside, the Occupational Health clinic is similar to a small urgent care center for injured workers. When a worker experiences an injury on the job, they can receive treatment immediately with employer approval. Doctors can arrange for employees to return to work on light duty if restrictions are necessary.
The clinic’s attending physician, Joseph Mejia, MD, has worked for more than 30 years in occupational medicine in Chicago. He recently moved to Porter County after joining Occupational Health at Community Healthcare System.
"I'm very excited to be here in Valpo," Mejia said. "The new clinic is shiny and clean and nice, and I feel very welcomed here. I'm just excited to be in the community."
Mejia is fluent in English and Spanish. This helps patients who speak English as a second language feel more comfortable, he said.
Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas attended the grand opening and thanked the healthcare system for its commitment to Valparaiso’s business community.
"We're delighted to see this investment by St. Mary Medical Center, and it's wonderful that they're doing what they can to keep our workforce healthy and working well,” Costas said. “Occupational healthcare is very important to keep our workforce working. Everyone needs to stay healthy, and we're excited to congratulate them on this new facility."
Additional services provided by Dr. Mejia at Occupational Health’s Valparaiso clinic include physicals, work-related injury care, OSHA surveillance exams, drug testing, audiograms and respirator clearance.
For more information on Community Healthcare System's Occupational Health services, visit the website at comhs.org/services/occupational-health