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posted: 9/20/2012 5:30 AM

Local hospitals oppose proposed surgical competitor

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A surgeon who practices at Northwest Community Hospital wants to open a nearly $4 million outpatient center four miles from the main hospital in Arlington Heights, where it will compete directly for patients, according to documents submitted to the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board.

Dr. Yelena Levitin is behind the proposal for a new surgical center and medical office at 129 W. Rand Road in Arlington Heights.

Levitin said her facility will offer procedures at lower prices, including hernia, gallbladder and endoscopy procedures, among others.

"We're trying to come up with a more cost-efficient model of providing health care," Levitin said. "We have a lot of patients putting off elective procedures because they can't afford it at current hospital prices."

Leaders of two suburban hospital groups, including Bruce Crowther, CEO of Northwest Community Healthcare, submitted letters objecting to the facility.

Levitin's 7,700-square-foot Chicago Surgical Clinic Ltd., would have medical offices, six exam rooms and two operating suites, according to the application. Levitin already has a Chicago Surgical office in Wheeling.

The two-story, multimillion-dollar building must receive a certificate of need from the review board before proceeding.

According to the application, the facility would perform a minimum of 5,000 procedures a year and will be open 24 hours a day.

"We at Northwest Community Hospital have served the surgical needs of these patients for years," Crowther wrote in his opposition letter to the project. "This project negatively impacts our program and ability to serve our patients."

Officials from the hospital would not comment further.

A similar letter from Presence Health, which includes hospitals in the Provena and Resurrection health care systems, said the new facility "would have a significant negative impact on our hospitals."

The letter from also states that physicians of Chicago Surgical Clinic are on the medical staff of three Presence Health hospitals and perform mostly outpatient surgical procedures -- more than 1,000 procedures in the last 19 months.

"The impact is particularly significant at Holy Family Medical Center, where the physicians of Chicago Surgical Clinic, Ltd., represent nearly 20 percent of the surgery and GI cases performed at the hospital," the letter states.

Holy Family Medical Center in Des Plaines is less than seven miles from the proposed Chicago Surgical Clinic location.

While Levitin is associated with Northwest Community Hospital, she is also affiliated with five other hospitals in the Chicago area, including Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville and Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village, according to state records.

The health facilities board will consider the project on Dec. 10.

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