Hospitals: No need for new hospital in McHenry Co.

Updated 6/2/2011 5:36 PM

Hospital wars make strange bedfellows.

On Thursday, Centegra and Mercy health systems, at odds over competing hospital expansion plans, were both on the defensive as other suburban health providers challenged their proposals to build new hospitals.


Three suburban hospitals -- Sherman in Elgin, Advocate Good Shepherd in Barrington and St. Alexius in Hoffman Estates -- submitted objections Thursday to a state panel that will decide whether Centegra and Mercy can build new hospitals in McHenry County.

Mercy is proposing a $200 million, 128-bed hospital at Route 31 and Three Oaks Road in Crystal Lake. Centegra is seeking permission to build a $233 million, 128-bed hospital at Haligus and Algonquin roads in Huntley.

In joint filings to the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, Sherman, Good Shepherd and St. Alexius argue a new hospital in southeast McHenry County would siphon thousands of patients and tens of millions of dollars from existing hospitals.

"Our main concern is these proposed hospitals for McHenry County do not add any new or unique services," said Mike Deering, a spokesman for Good Shepherd. "You're essentially duplicating the services that providers are already providing."

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In a statement, Susan Milford, Centegra's senior vice president for strategic planning, responded: "Right now, McHenry County has the greatest need for hospital beds of anywhere in the state. In fact, this shortage of beds is forcing many local residents to seek care outside of the county."

Although Centegra and Mercy found themselves in a similar position Thursday, the health systems have not seen eye-to-eye on their competing hospital proposals.

Centegra has challenged Mercy's proposal for a new hospital, pointing out Mercy's 2003 application for a new facility was scrapped after people connected to the proposal were indicted on federal corruption charges.

Mercy was not charged with wrongdoing, and its current leaders say the 2003 case isn't relevant to Mercy's recent application. A spokesman for Mercy could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The health facilities and services review board plans to decide June 28 whether Mercy and Centegra can proceed with their hospital plans.


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