The Greater La Porte Chamber of Commerce invited business leaders to gather at the Best Western Plus La Porte Hotel and Conference Center to welcome the incoming La Porte Hospital CEO Ashley Dickinson and to hear her speak about her plans for the recently-announced rebuild of La Porte Hospital.
Rita Mrozinski, President and CEO of La Porte Chamber of Commerce thinks that the new hospital is a great, positive move for the city of La Porte.
“Ashley Dickinson is our new Chief Executive Officer here at La Porte hospital. I reached out to her to see if she would like to come here today and address some questions and concerns that local residents have expressed, and she graciously agreed to speak here today. She’s excited to give a report on what’s going on with the new hospital,” said Mrozinski.
“We’ve needed a new hospital for many years. They’ve been struggling with out-of-date materials there at the hospital, so this is a great opportunity to start fresh and catch up with current medical technology,” said Mrozinski, who also hinted that the theme of the day’s luncheon would be “Spreading Acts of Kindness.”
“And you’ll just have to stick around ‘til the end to see what I mean,” she hinted.
Born and raised in Oklahoma, Dickinson comes to La Porte from Valparaiso, where she worked as Chief Operating Officer of Porter Health Care System. She and her husband are currently house-hunting for a home in the La Porte area.
“La Porte hospital is such an important part of our community," said Dickinson. "We’re here today to provide a little bit more detail about what is currently going on the the hospital, as well as provide some more details about the new hospital we’re building. Healthcare is one of the most important industries in any community. Having the newest hospital in the region, with the latest technology, will be a very positive thing for the La Porte community.”
Dickinson states that the La Porte Hospital system currently handles nearly 4,000 admissions each year, and another 80,000 on an outpatient basis. “Then, throw in lab work and imaging, ER visits and physician office visits and we’re touching over 100,000 people in our system here each year,” she explained.
Dickinson says she is very excited to be part of the La Porte Hospital system, which features four main campuses: La Porte Hospital in downtown La Porte, Starke Hospital in Knox, Lakeshore SurgiCare (an ambulatory surgery center, through partnership with Lakeshore Bone and Joint Institute), as well as LifeWorks in Michigan City. They also have a network of physician’s offices, and cover five counties throughout the region.
“They have been incredibly welcoming and supportive of me as an individual, as well as for the plans for the new hospital,” said Dickinson of local residents. “When people are looking for a home, one of the things that they often consider most is quality of healthcare, and we feel that this new hospital will ensure that La Porte is at the cutting edge of healthcare.”
Work on the new hospital is set to break ground in 2018, and it is expected to be fully operational by 2020. Although the plans have not yet been finalized, the $125 million, 200,000 square-foot project is expected to feature five stories, will have a new medical office building and will be designed to accommodate future growth. The new hospital will be built at the current hospital site.
Dickinson says that the hospital is currently and actively recruiting for staff - physicians, nurses and support staff, and that they recently held a recruitment fair which offered bonuses for nurses, as well as Refer-a-Friend bonuses.
After a round of applause in support of Dickinson and her plans for the future of healthcare in La Porte, the luncheon closed out with Chamber of Commerce CEO Mrozinski, who called two volunteers up to the podium and handed each of them an envelope.
“I would like to start an act of kindness here in our community,” said Mrozinski. “I’m starting this on behalf of my daughter, who has such a big heart, and who has made me a better person. Inside each of these envelopes is a certain amount of money. I would like to ask each of them to either keep it, add to it and pass it on, or pay it forward to a grocery bill for another member of our community. I hope that this will start a trend of acts of kindness here in La Porte, because when you pass someone, you don’t know what they are going through, and this one act of kindness might be just what they needed to make their day better.”
“A good community is based around their hospital. Being able to go to your own local providers for quality medical services is amazing," Catherine Langford - Agricultural Loan Officer for 1st Source Bank said. "Ashley’s commitment and enthusiasm for what they have planned here in La Porte can only make our city better.”
Langford has confidence in the direction the city is moving.
“We have fantastic people in charge here. With what Mayor Milo is doing, and with Ashley’s plans for the hospital, the future of La Porte can only be positive. They’re all go-getters and with leaders like them, there’s no way we can fail.”