GOSHEN — After a year of preparation, construction to turn the Abshire Mansion in Goshen into a second location for Maple City Health Care Center will begin.
IU Health Goshen and Maple City Health will host a groundbreaking ceremony at the site, 803 N. Main St., Thursday, August 28.
IU Health Goshen purchased the mansion from the Fourth Freedom Forum — an organization founded in Goshen that looks to promote international cooperation — in late 2013 under the agreement that it would lease it to Maple City Health.
The mansion was purchased in the 1920s by former Goshen mayor John Abshire. Part of it will be kept as is and will be used for group therapy or information sessions. A section added to the mansion in the 1950s by the Abshires will be gutted out and renovated into a clinic.
The address will be changed to 808 N. Third Street for the public to access through the east side of the house.
The clinic will have two full-time doctors, two full-time nurse practitioners, plus counselors for behavioral health and nutrition.
The plan is to start offering services by April or May, and the goal for now is to double the 5,000 patients Maple City Health currently has, said Dr. James Gingerich, medical director at the clinic.
“This is a lovely, spacious, beautiful location in the middle of our neighborhood that we’ve been working at serving,” he said. “And part of the joy of this is to turn it into something that really invites the community into it again.”
Approaching health care in new ways
Maple City Health has embraced a model that helps people with low income by providing a wide range of services, including dental, mental health counseling, and offering them discounts of up to 90 percent.
For patients with the lowest income, the facility provides any service for $15, which the patient can pay or perform community service for $10 credit per hour.
“We want to make sure they get some skin in the game, but it’s affordable and that it’s integrative and that it works for them,” Gingerich said. “We want them to be doing something that betters the community and we want to give them credit for it, so they can afford the care.”
Ultimately, Maple City Health wants to build a community in which the patients trust them and go to them as their primary care provider.
Through primary care, a doctor can identify potential health issues that might affect their patients in the future and help prevent them, saving the patients from a trip to the emergency room, which costs more.
It’s also a model that IU Health Goshen supports and wants to see grow, said Randy Christophel, president and CEO of IU Health Goshen.
IU Health Goshen contacted Maple City Health about a year and a half ago telling them they needed a second location. It was around that time LaCasa had been called by Fourth Freedom Forum, who was interested in selling the Abshire Mansion with the condition that the property became something that would benefit the community.
“They’re doing things really well,” Christophel said about Maple City Health. “So when we started talking about a year and a half ago, we told them ‘you guys have such a good model here. How do we help you expand?’”
National recognition amidst national changes
Maple City Health received national recognition in 2012, when it became one of 30 health care providers chosen by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as an exemplary practice to help build a national model through the Learning from Effective Ambulatory Practices (LEAP) project.
“We have a kind of unique collaborative opportunity here that I think is innovative and on the cutting edge, and a hospital (IU Health Goshen) that is more progressive and forward-looking than most,” Gingerich said. “And that opens up opportunities for everybody to benefit.”
IU Health Goshen was the first accountable care organization in Northern Indiana, which means it brought health care providers together to give coordinated care to ensure patients get the right care at the right time.
“Our industry has come from decades of ‘get sick, get hurt, one-by-one come see us and we’ll do a great job. And now we’re going to proactively help manage a population,” he said.
“For example we can go to an employer and by monitoring, tracking, evaluating, attaching to primary care practices, we can help raise the health status of that employee group, and so what it does for the employers is that they’ve got a healthier employee group, they’re getting better services, higher quality and the costs go down.”
With the Affordable Care Act, hospitals are looking for ways to provide care to anyone who walks through their door, but that doesn’t mean they get paid more.
“The primary goal is to keep people out of (hospitals),” Gingerich said. “And that doesn’t make sense in the old model of health care, where the more they do, the more they get paid. But as we are moving into a new model where we’re getting paid to a a capitative global rate to take care of patients in a qualitative way it starts making sense for everyone, so it’s a win for them, us and the community.”
Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Sharon Hernandez on Twitter at @Sharon_HT