Good Shepherd expansion OK'd

But Lindenhurst proposal nixed again

A state panel on Wednesday approved a plan to modernize Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital near Lake Barrington, but rejected an application to build Vista Medical Center Lindenhurst.

The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board unanimously approved a $247 million plan for Advocate Good Shepherd, while denying the $131 million Vista plan by a 5-2 vote.

The board voted 7-0 at its meeting at the Bolingbrook Golf Club to grant the required Certificate of Need application for Advocate Good Shepherd, clearing the way for construction to begin this fall.

“This is an exciting time for our community as we prepare Good Shepherd Hospital for a new generation of innovation in health care,” hospital President Karen Lambert said in a statement. “This modernization will improve the patient care experience by enhancing privacy, offering the most advanced technology and making it more convenient to access our inpatient and outpatient services.”

Community Health Systems Inc., which owns Vista Medical Center East and Vista Medical Center West in Waukegan, sought to build a 132-bed hospital at Grand Avenue and Deep Lake Road in Lindenhurst.

Vista had been unsuccessful in prior attempts but reintroduced the idea last September. This past March, the facilities and services review board again denied the proposal, in part, because there are existing services within 45 minutes of the proposed Lindenhurst location.

Vista contended it had addressed those and other concerns in the action considered Wednesday but details of the board's decision were not immediately available. A Vista spokesman declined to comment.

Opponents included Advocate Health Care, which argued a new Lindenhurst hospital was unnecessary.

“We commend the board for sticking up for Lake County patients and recognizing that a new, for-profit hospital would do more harm than good,” Dr. Bruce Hyman, medical staff president at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, said in a statement.

When the four-year project at Advocate Good Shepherd is complete, the hospital will have private rooms for all patients, which hospital officials said provide a quiet, calmer healing environment. The rooms will also be equipped with smart-room technology.

Lambert said patients have come to expect private rooms, and research suggests private rooms help control infection and provide better patient confidentiality.

Currently, only half of the rooms on the hospital campus overall are private, though the cardiac care center that opened in 2005 has private rooms exclusively.

The campus modernization project won't significantly add to the overall capacity of the hospital, which was originally built in 1979. The licensed bed count will increase from 169 to 176, and all the additional beds will be in the intensive care unit.

According to the 2011 Illinois Department of Public Health's Hospital Profiles report, Good Shepherd's ICU has the second highest occupancy rate in Illinois among hospitals with more than 10 ICU beds.

The project also will enlarge Good Shepherd's operating rooms and equip them with state-of-the-art technology such as imaging equipment that enables surgeons to get near-instant access to MRIs, CT scans and digital X-rays during procedures. Cameras that project and enlarge images onto wall-mounted screens will be installed, as well.

“Our operating rooms were designed over 35 years ago,” Lambert said. “Technology has changed in surgery, so we need larger rooms to accommodate the types of procedures, equipment and technology we do and use.”

Good Shepherd also plans to modernize other clinical services including radiology, ambulatory care services, cardiovascular and pulmonary testing, and therapies.

Nonclinical areas also will be upgraded including the public/visitor space, the lobby, chapel, community education, conference center and simulation laboratory.

The hospital hopes to obtain LEED Gold certification. Energy-efficient initiatives include installing green roofs to provide energy-conserving insulation and absorb rainwater.

Though all patients will have private rooms within two years, the project won't be completed until 2017.

Ÿ Staff Writer Mick Zawislak contributed to this report.

Good Shepherd plans modernization

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