Rather than driving to downtown Indianapolis or Franklin for medical care, patients across Johnson County now often have the option of heading to smaller facilities much closer to their homes.

Health care providers across Johnson County have been adding satellite and micro-hospital facilities, geared to provide access to care such as X-rays, medical labs and even some types of surgeries without making patients take a trip to a central hospital. The technological advancements that allow physicians to safely offer these services and the customer demand for more readily accessible care is what is driving the trend.

In the past several years, Johnson Memorial Health and Franciscan Health have opened additional satellite or ambulatory facilities in Johnson County, and now another one is planned in Greenwood, a 25,000-square-foot ambulatory facility to be built by St. Vincent Health on the east side of Interstate 65.

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The St. Vincent facility, on about three acres of land on Innovation Parkway near OrthoIndy South, will house physicians, but additional details such as what specific services will be offered at the site have yet to be finalized, hospital spokesperson Gene Ford said.

The facility is set to begin construction in October and be complete in May, Greenwood Planning Director Bill Peeples said.

Another 100,000-square foot micro-hospital is already under construction by Franciscan Health along Stones Crossing Road near State Road 135.

Advances in technology have enabled health care providers to offer services at smaller facilities that were previously reserved for their central hospital, said John Fitzgerald, the executive associate dean for clinical affairs with the Indiana University School of Medicine.

That includes procedures such as joint and hip replacement, hernia surgery and gall bladder removal, he said.

“Twenty-five years ago these were almost done exclusively in a hospital setting, now they are safely done in an ambulatory facility,” he said.

The increased ability to offer more services outside of the traditional hospital setting, as well as a continued demand by patients for more convenient services, is why Johnson Memorial Health operates seven satellite facilities in Johnson County, including two added recently in Greenwood and Whiteland, said Larry Heydon, president and CEO of Johnson Memorial Health.

As technology has advanced and become less expensive, lab work, X-rays and other services are able to be brought to locations other than a central facility, Heydon said.

“Our patient base expects more local services,” he said. “They expect to drive down a street for care rather than downtown Indianapolis or downtown Franklin.”

While Johnson Memorial Health is focused now on the expansion and renovation of its main campus, once that is complete, they will again look at adding more satellite facilities, this time toward the southwest area of Johnson County around Edinburgh and into Morgan County, Heydon said.

He expects to see the population of the southern portion of Johnson County continue to grow, which will mean a larger demand for medical services.

The push to add satellite hospitals is a national trend, Fitzgerald said.

“There will be a push to go to a venue of care at the lowest possible cost,” Fitzgerald said. “If we recognize that there are things we do in the inpatient setting that can be moved to ambulatory setting, I think we will see more and more.”

At a glance

Here is a look at some of the medical facilities planned in Johnson County:

St. Vincent Medical Group Greenwood Ambulatory Facility

What: A satellite hospital facility that will offer physician care

Where: 1300 Innovation Parkway, Greenwood

Size: 25,000 square feet

Construction schedule: October 2017 to May 2018

Franciscan Health Stones Crossing

What: A new microhospital, emergency department and outpatient medical complex.

Where: 1703 W. Stones Crossing Road, Greenwood

Size: 108,000 square feet

Construction schedule: Work is underway, with plans to be done in the first half of 2018.

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.