With the grand opening of the Janice E. Wilson Health Center on Wednesday, NorthShore Health Centers marked the beginning of a new chapter more than 20 years in the making. The new three-story facility features 63 exam rooms, seven dental operatories, and will offer medical, dental, optometry, women’s health, addiction, chiropractic, pharmacy, and pediatric care.
Planning for the building started years ago, when NorthShore realized their patient numbers simply outgrew their existing clinics across Porter, La Porte, and Lake Counties. In some instances, NorthShore’s providers were unable to see patients the same day they came in. Through 2019, NorthShore managed over 186,000 patient visits and expects even more in 2020. The new health center, which starts seeing patients on Monday, ensures NorthShore can provide prompt and comprehensive care to the thousands in need across the Region.
“This building is our flagship,” said Janice Wilson, Founder and CEO of NorthShore Health. “This building is going to help us bring all of our services to one location. Nowhere else in our organization does any one building hold all of our services.”
Wilson founded NorthShore back in 1995, when it was just a teen clinic inside Portage High School. They started with just 700 patients, but grew year after year under Wilson’s leadership. Though NorthShore is now the second largest federally qualified facility in the state, their mission has never changed – provide the highest quality health care regardless of ability to pay.
“At each new building, I’ve marveled at how [Wilson] is able to accomplish this,” said Charlie Brown, Lake County Councilman and former State Representative. “It’s big bucks to build all these buildings, but Jan gets it done every single time.”
Wilson is planning to retire soon, and NorthShore’s Board of Directors decided to name the facility in her honor. Congressman Pete Visclosky commemorated her achievements, and what NorthShore means to the community.
“It’s not about the nine buildings that Jan, her board, her staff, and volunteers have been instrumental in,” Visclosky said. “It’s about those 50,000 individual citizens that they’ve worked so deliberately to ensure have access to the best quality healthcare in the United States of America. That’s a basic, basic right that we all have.”
To account for future growth, NorthShore secured extra land around the new building which will let them expand as necessary. They employ over 330 health care providers and support staff and are always growing. For example, the new building features chiropractic care, which was unavailable at the previous Portage location.
NorthShore’s services are open to anyone regardless of their insurance status, and the new clinic will also walk patients through enrolling in the Hoosier Healthwise and Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace programs.
The Janice E. Wilson Health Center is located on 6050 Sterling Creek Rd, Portage, Ind. To learn more about NorthShore Health Centers, visit www.northshorehealth.org.