An application to build a $131 million hospital in Lindenhurst was denied Wednesday, although it appears Vista Health System intends to continue the process.
The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, meeting in Bloomington, voted 6-0 for an intent to deny the application to build a 132-bed hospital at Grand Avenue and Deep Lake Road.
Community Health Systems Inc., which owns Vista Medical Center East and Vista Medical Center West in Waukegan had sought the approval, saying there was a need for improved access to health care for residents in north central and northwestern Lake County.
Details of the board's denial and potential future steps open to Vista were not immediately available.
However, an element of the plan to transfer 108 medical surgical beds from Vista East to the new Lindenhurst facility was said to be in question. A finding of a staff review of the application for the board noting there was no need for more surgical or obstetric beds in Lake County also was said to have been cited by board members.
Vista was proposing to build the hospital around a free-standing emergency center in Lindenhurst that opened in July 2011.
In a statement after the decision, Barbara Martin, CEO of Vista Health System, appeared to leave the door open.
"We thank the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board for its feedback on our plans to build a hospital in Lindenhurst during its meeting today in Bloomington. We respect this process and intend to answer the Board's questions to the best of our ability," according to the statement. "It's not unusual for a proposal to establish a new hospital to receive additional recommendations and requests from the Board. We look forward to presenting to the Board again during a future meeting."
Lindenhurst Village Administrator Matt Formica described the decision as "unfortunate."
"The village has been very supportive of Vista's plan and will continue to be supportive of Vista," he said. "We feel there's a need for improved access to health care in the northwest part of the county."
The proposal was opposed by other hospital operators including Advocate Health Care, which has facilities in Libertyville and Barrington, as being unnecessary.
"The board acted in the best interest of patients by recognizing that a new, for-profit hospital would do far more harm than good for Lake County residents," Dr. Bruce Hyman, medical staff president at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville said in a statement.
Hospital: Advocate Health Care supports state's decision