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updated: 1/17/2013 1:41 PM

Proposed hospital endangers programs

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Vista Health System is proposing to build a new 132-bed hospital in Lindenhurst that would offer basic hospital services and provide more Lake County hospital beds. This will do a disservice to the people of Lake County -- especially because it could put the specialty services of other Lake County hospitals in jeopardy.

At Advocate Condell, we have the only Level I Trauma Center in Lake County. We also provide the county's only pediatric emergency department, where we see 12,000 children every year. Children's health and safety needs are different than adults' needs, so it is important that they have access to specialized care if they need emergency treatment because of a motor vehicle accident, a head injury or complications from a serious illness.

The specialized trauma care is vital to all of us that live in the county. Vista's new hospital would not provide more specialty services or increase access to primary care medicine.

What's worse is that their new hospital could eventually put other specialty programs and our Level I Trauma Center in jeopardy. Hospital admissions in Lake County are going down but ER visits are on the rise. Our ER visits are increasing because of the lack of both primary care physicians and clinics. Many Lake County residents seeking medical attention through ERs are uninsured or under insured. They avoid care until they become severely ill because they do not have affordable access to a primary care physician or clinic in a timely manner.

What is needed in our county is more primary care access not more hospital beds that will add to an already unfilled capacity.

Dr. Charles Nozicka

Medical Director, Pediatric Emergency Medicine

Advocate Condell Medical Center

Libertyville

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