Porter Health gives tour of future hospital

Michael Gard, Sun-Times Media

VALPARAISO — Porter Health CEO Jonathan Nalli on Wednesday led members of the media, hospital representatives and Porter County Building Commissioner Mike Haller on a behind-the-scenes tour of Porter’s new replacement hospital on track for completion in fall 2012.

The purpose of the tour was to demonstrate how the new 445,000-square-foot facility is designed to bring quick and efficient care to patients as Nalli emphasized the first hour is crucial in saving lives.

“That is the ‘golden’ hour,” he said. “Our focus is to cut down those minutes to get you that care you require.”

Diagnostic modalities will be part of the first floor where patients will be sent to their required care areas without having to needlessly maze through other areas of the hospital.

Nalli said the reception area will nearly triple the size the one at Porter’s current Valparaiso campus located at 814 LaPorte Ave. The number of beds in the emergency area will also triple from 12 to 30 and two nurse stations will be set up.

Connected to the reception area will be a central “spine” or corridor with specific elevator cars traveling to certain areas of the hospital.

The first floor will house an ambulance bay and two rooms specifically for cardiac care and three rooms for trauma patients. There will also be a 13-bed cardiac and vascular institute where patients can check the condition of their hearts through procedures such as stress tests and electrophysiology tests.

“It’s essentially a cardiac hospital within a hospital,” said Nalli.

The second floor will be designated for a medical intensive care unit and a surgical intensive care unit. Ten hybrid operating rooms using state-of-the-art technological systems will be included with the possibility of adding two more, Nalli said.

A women’s and children’s pavilion will be designated for the entire fourth floor.

“It’s like building your own house,” said Nalli, “but this house is $210 million.”

All 225 patient rooms in the new facility will be private for the patients and their families, accommodating up to 10 people. Each room will have its own view of the scenic areas surrounding the campus, overlooking a lake area to the north. Nalli said soothing views have been accredited to better recovery times.

Porter Health spokeswoman Karen Keltner said Nalli and his team have carefully researched different methods of providing effective care. There are even separate hallways for staff so that the outer hallways will be less congested for patients.

Before journeying up four flights of stairs, Nali gathered the tour group in what will be the cafeteria located on the ground floor and spoke passionately of how the construction has boosted the economy in just one year.

Nearly 600 constructions have manifested since construction began, he said, with 97 percent of the work being done in Porter County. The hospital plans to hire at least 126 new full-time positions at its start. The number of those jobs could grow based on volume, Nalli said.

Senior Project Manager John Galassini of the Robins and Morton group based in Brentwood, Tenn., reported that 82 percent of construction materials used are recyclable. He said $10,000 has gone back to the construction due to recycled materials. Nalli said the savings will help Porter purchase more technology.

On the topic of other possible projects, Nalli said there will be more announcements made in the not too distant future but is currently focused on the task of completing the facility located on U.S. 6 just west of Indiana 49.

“So much has been accomplished in just 13 months,” he said.