NW Healthcare to add facilities, cut jobs

Northwest Community to open four new sites but cut 110 jobs

Northwest Community Healthcare in Arlington Heights announced a restructuring plan Wednesday that will include the development of four new outpatient facilities but also result in the loss of 110 hospital jobs, officials said.

The layoffs are mixture of full- and part-time positions and make up 3 percent of the hospital’s workforce, officials said.

Northwest Community Hospital is one of the largest employers in Arlington Heights.

A spokeswoman for the hospital would not answer further questions, such as how many of the layoffs will be clinical versus administrative, how the outpatient facilities will be staffed or whether the job cuts will result in a discontinuation of some hospital services.

Any discontinuation of service or decrease in the number of beds would have to be approved by the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, said spokeswoman Melaney Arnold.

Northwest Community Hospital has 496 authorized beds.

Hospitals also need the board’s approval if they plan to spend more than $12 million on capital improvements.

The new outpatient facilities will open in Arlington Heights, Palatine and Schaumburg, along with a physical therapy facility in Mount Prospect, all to be developed in 2013.

“Our strategic plan focuses on enhancing preventive treatment, technology and outpatient services to reduce expensive hospital stays,” said President and CEO Bruce Crowther in a statement.

“We will continue to meet the challenges of the changing health care landscape by reallocating resources and cutting unnecessary costs, while providing the high-quality care that our patients and community expect,” he said.

Crowther was not immediately available for comment.

In addition to the hospital in Arlington Heights, Northwest Community Healthcare also operates four immediate-care locations in the Northwest suburbs as well as a FastCare Clinic in Palatine.

The shift to provide more outpatient care is an industrywide trend, said Danny Chun, spokesman for the Naperville-based Illinois Hospital Association, which represents 200 hospitals statewide.

Chun said though he does not know the details of Northwest Community Healthcare’s restructuring plan, hospitals all over the country are moving to provide health care to where the patients are.

“Many hospitals are doing more outpatient, home health, nursing homes, palliative care (pain management, quality of life issues for chronic conditions, end of life services),” Chun said. “There are all kinds of services hospitals are moving into across the spectrum of care.”

A lot of hospitals are now moving into prevention services to reduce unnecessary hospital services, he added.

“You just can’t think of a hospital as just a stand-alone building anymore,” Chun said.

“You have to think of them as health systems” that have collaborations or partnerships with other providers in the community, he said.

Some of these industrywide trends can be attributed to changes brought about by the Health Care Reform law. Starting Oct. 1, the federal government will reduce Medicare reimbursement for unnecessary hospital readmissions.

That means more hospital systems will be branching out and providing follow-up patient services through specialized clinics.

Ÿ Daily Herald staff writer Melissa Silverberg contributed to this report.

Change is coming for health care industry, Northwest CEO says

Bruce Crowther
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