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updated: 1/31/2013 9:32 AM

Lindenhurst hospital plan delayed for 2 months

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A decision on a proposed 132-bed hospital in Lindenhurst will be deferred for two months at the request of the company pursuing the $131 million plan.

An application for Vista Medical Center Lindenhurst was to have been considered Tuesday by the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, but it has been removed from the agenda.

"They decided to defer the hearing of their application, so it won't be decided by the board until March 26," said Courtney Avery, a spokeswoman for the board. "It's not uncommon."

Community Health Systems Inc., which owns Vista Medical Center East and Vista Medical Center West in Waukegan, withdrew Wednesday from the agenda.

In a statement, Vista Health System said it requested the deferral to take time to address "some of the peripheral issues that have been raised," but did not specify what those were.

"Then, when the Review Board considers our project it will be able to focus on its primary goal, which is increased access to health care services for central and northwestern Lake County residents," according to the statement.

Vista had been unsuccessful in prior attempts -- most recently in 2009 -- to locate a hospital in Lindenhurst. The idea was reintroduced last September.

The main argument is to improve access to service for within 45 minutes of the site at Grand Avenue and Deep Lake Road. Vista operates a medical office building and a free-standing emergency center at that location.

What would be the first new hospital built in Lake County in nearly 40 years would be built around the emergency center. The five-story building would include a trauma center, nursery, and five operating rooms.

"We certainly see that it is needed, not only in the Lindenhurst area but also to the north and west portions of Lake County," Village Administrator Matt Formica said.

Vista would discontinue 108 medical surgical beds at Vista Medical Center East as part of the proposal.

A public hearing on the proposal in November in Lindenhurst, drew support from 37 attendees, with 21 opposed.

Opponents include Advocate Health Care and Centegra Health System, which contend there is no need for new inpatient beds.

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