Date: 2/25/2003

St. Catherine Hospital receives economic development award

St. Catherine Hospital recently received an East Chicago Economic Development Award, honoring the hospital’s commitment to making sound investments in the East Chicago and surrounding communities. The award was presented at a banquet Feb. 1 by the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce.

“The annual economic development award recognizes businesses who want to help our communities continue to grow,” said Sean Kingston, media liaison for the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce. “By making sound investments through building improvements and other means, St. Catherine Hospital has contributed to improving the quality of life and the aesthetics of our community.”

The economic development award honors a company who has made a significant investment in building equipment, product line, remodeling or increased employment over the past year. The hospital, which was nominated by the East Chicago Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, has seen significant change and improvement since becoming part of Community Healthcare System in October of 2001.

Just weeks after acquiring St. Catherine Hospital, Community Foundation of Northwest Indiana, Inc., began a $1.6 million renovation project that culminated in the new Rehabilitation Center at St. Catherine Hospital - an 18-bed unit that provides rehabilitative services for those transitioning from surgery or other debilitating illnesses. The unit, which was built in a closed medical-surgical wing that had been used for storage, provided for about 18 new jobs.

In May 2002, $5.9 million was invested to improve the hospital’s aging heating and water cooling units. The goal was to maximize efficiency, save money and contribute to a cleaner environment.

In August 2002, St. Catherine Hospital blessed and dedicated a new pediatric unit with nine private rooms and baths, comfortable accommodations for parents, a playroom and a safety alarm system.

In December 2002, the Community Healthcare System Information Technology Department moved into 15,000 square feet of newly remodeled space at St. Catherine Hospital. The space is specially designed to centralize computer operations across the three hospital system.

In addition, the hospital is now under remodeling construction that will culminate in a new acute care unit to care for patients with long-term, complex medical conditions. The unit will be independently owned and operated, and will purchase support services (such as dietary, lab, etc.) from St. Catherine Hospital.

“We are pleased to receive this award recognizing our efforts and we look forward to continuing to embrace the community of East Chicago by providing them with important healthcare services close to home,” said JoAnn Birdzell, administrator of St. Catherine Hospital.