Local News

HealthLinc Expansion Underway

(Michigan City, IN) - A ground breaking was held Monday in Michigan City on a new HealthLinc medical clinic that will be more than three times larger than the current facility serving the community.


Construction of the 39,000 square foot outpatient clinic is in response to growing demand for affordable medical care from uninsured and underinsured people, said Beth Wrobel, Chief Executive Officer of HealthLinc.  HealthLinc has other clinics for low to moderate income people in Lake, Porter, Starke and St. Joseph counties.


Wrobel said the Michigan City clinic serves uninsured and underinsured residents from the New Buffalo area.  Wrobel said the plan is to move the existing 12,000 square foot clinic at 7th and Franklin streets to the new facility behind Ivy Tech Community College during the first quarter of 2024.


“We’ve outgrown it,” she said.


Wrobel said the new $15 million facility at 200 Alfred Avenue, just north of U.S. 20, will have space to treat more individuals and provide new services in optometry, expanded prenatal care services and an in-house pharmacy for convenience.


Services at current facility already include medical, dental, podiatry, chiropractic and addiction services.  Patients at the current HealthLinc location, established in 2008, used to have nearby Fagan Pharmacy available to fill prescriptions at a much lower cost.  Fagan Pharmacy closed over a year ago, though.  Patients now go to CVS and Walgreens to have their prescriptions filled at a significant discount.


Ivy Tech medical students will also be given access to the facility to gain experience in health care treatment as part of their studies.


The new building will contain three floors with services, initially, provided on the first two levels.  The third level will be used if there’s a need for expansion in the future.


Wrobel said there were about 9,000 patients resulting in roughly 35,000 visits at HealthLinc in Michigan City last year.  In comparison, there were about 500 patients during the first six months after the clinic opened its doors.  “We’ve really grown,” she said.


Wrobel said HealthLinc is funded primarily with various grants and fees from patients whose cost is based on income.  Federal dollars make up about 10-percent of the operating budget, she said.


First District Congressman, Frank Mrvan of Hammond, said facilities such as HealthLinc make the communities they serve stronger by giving people access to medical care they might not be able to afford otherwise.  Mrvan said affordable healthcare also plays a role in economic development.


“To say, hey, we have a quality health care provider that’s looking out for the most vulnerable, that’s something that helps brings in businesses.  That’s something that brings in new residents,” he said.

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