SEYMOUR, Ind. (WDRB) -- One of the few medical centers between Louisville and Indianapolis is set to go under a major expansion to expand services.

Schneck Medical Center is expected to begin construction early next year on an 80,000-square-foot, $44 million expansion to its current facilities.

“We assessed the community's needs over the last few years,” said Schneck CEO Warren Forgey. “The key point that we found was access was an issue.”

That assessment began back in 2015. As a result, leaders at Schneck decided the best course of action would be to add 30 additional doctors.

“We can have the best recruiting plan around, but if we don't have space for those physicians to practice, we have a serious problem,” Forgey said.

That issue led to the plan to expand facilities, including a new parking deck.

“(We) began working early this year on developing a mass facility plan that would address that,” Forgey said.

The delay and lack of access for patients in the area of Jackson, Jennings and Scott Counties can partly be attributed to lack of doctors, but another contributing factor is the opioid epidemic that has gripped the region for the better part of two years.

“That's one factor that has certainly increased the need for health care,” Forgey said.

As a result, Forgey said overall health status in the region has decreased in the past decade, leading to greater needs from patients.

“Over one third of the population we serve had difficulty accessing care or there were delays in accessing care,” Forgey said.

In addition to the extra space and doctors, the expansion will allow Schneck to increase surgical options at its main facility as well.

The majority of the work should be finished in 2019. 

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