Until the 1970s, local medical doctors did not accept osteopathic methods of treatment using muscle and skeletal manipulation, and osteopaths were excluded from practicing in all area hospitals except Marion County General. In 1960, 10 osteopathic doctors organized the Joint Venture Group to establish a hospital in which their dwindling numbers could practice and provide an alternative to traditional hospital services. The group met successive roadblocks in zoning, financing, and lack of cooperation from the local medical community. 

When it was ready to start building the hospital in 1970, the Health Planning Council of Marion County refused to certify the proposal, despite a recognized need for more local hospital services. Only when Mayor Richard Lugar, who had previously served as Westview’s fundraising chairperson, asked the council to review its decision was the plan approved. The council, however, stipulated that the hospital must include traditional (allopathic) medical doctors on its staff and offer traditional services.

Newspaper clipping showing a woman walking into a hospital building.
Westview Hospital, 2001. Credit: IndyStar View Source

Westview opened in 1975, financed in part by an earlier $200,000 grant from the lilly endowment, inc. in 1972. The hospital featured private rooms, individualized care, and cost-effective holistic services, but it continued to suffer from financial and image problems. To build the hospital’s reputation as a professional and stable institution, Westview became a site for osteopathic and nursing intern programs and a leading fund-raiser for the local United Way. In 1978, Westview was accepted into the Alliance of Indianapolis Hospitals, at last assuring its standing in the local hospital community.

During the early 1980s, Westview expanded its facilities, equipment, and services. While specializing in foot, back, and leg problems, the hospital offered services in all medical areas except obstetrics and trauma cases. By 1994, Westview treated over 50,000 patients annually with a staff of 195 people. In 1998, Westview opened Healthplex Sports Club as part of its mission to encourage wellness.

Even though osteopathic medicine became more accepted and integrated into traditional U.S. hospitals at the end of the 20th century, Westview struggled. By 2009, Westview was $10 million in debt and needed to spend $7.5 million in upgrades. The Community Health Network announced in June 2011 that it would add Westview to its system, taking on its debt and investing in needed facility improvements. 

Westview gave the Community Health Network an opportunity to expand on the city’s westside. In addition to helping the hospital, Community invested in developing outpatient centers in the area. When the Marian University School of Osteopathic Medicine (MU-COM) opened in 2013, the Community Network partnered with the school and saw Community Westview as the perfect place for the school to provide physician education. The Network’s goal of establishing osteopathic family medicine programs at Westview, however, failed. By 2015, only one student a month shadowed osteopathic doctors at Westview.

Community suspended inpatient care at Westview in 2015, citing dwindling patient censuses. It kept the emergency department of the hospital open until the end of 2016 and sold the hospital’s Healthplex Sports Club. With the closure of Westview, the Community Health Network invested its resources in westside outpatient centers. MU-COM physician education continued at other Community Health Network sites, St. Vincent Health Network, Franciscan Health, and Iu Health Methodist Hospital Sports Medicine group.

Revised March 2021

Help improve this entry

Contribute information, offer corrections, suggest images.

You can also recommend new entries related to this topic.