State reviewers say hospital plans in McHenry are overkill

 
 
Updated 6/15/2011 5:58 AM

Proposed plans for two new hospitals in McHenry County would provide more beds than needed in the area, according to state reports released Tuesday.

The reports, compiled by Illinois Department of Public Health staff reviewers, evaluated proposals by Mercy and Centegra health systems for proposed hospitals in Crystal Lake and Huntley, respectively.

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The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board plans to vote on the proposals June 28. The board will consider the reports but is not mandated to follow their findings, spokeswoman Sabrina Miller said via email.

Both proposals call for 128 beds each, including surgical, obstetric and intensive care beds.

By 2015, that area will need 83 more surgical beds, plus eight intensive care beds and 27 obstetrics beds, the report concludes. Both Centegra's $233 million plan and Mercy's $199 million plan call for 100 surgical beds, or 17 too many beds, according to the reports.

Centegra's estimate of the needs of the area includes projections of rapid population growth in McHenry and northern Kane counties, said Susan Milford, Centegra's senior vice president for strategic planning. Healthcare reform also will drive up need by giving more access to hospital care to the nation's uninsured, she said.

There are several hospitals within a half-hour's drive from both proposed new sites. According to the reports, all those hospitals were operating below the Health Facilities and Services Review Board's target levels, which vary depending on the type of medical service, said Courtney Avery, board administrator.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Sherman and Provena St. Joseph hospitals in Elgin, Centegra hospitals in Woodstock and McHenry, and Advocate Good Shepherd in Barrington are all 18 miles or less from Centegra's Huntley site. The same five hospitals, plus St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, are within 16 miles of Mercy's site in Crystal Lake.

But Centegra's Milford said that there will be plenty of growth to fill the current hospitals, and more. "We believe that this hospital will meet the needs of the community as well as our hospitals in Woodstock and McHenry," she said.

Earlier this month, an attorney who represents Sherman, Advocate Good Shepherd in Barrington and St. Alexius sent a letter to the board requesting that the June 28 hearing be postponed until the Center for Comprehensive Planning compiles its plan.

The board will evaluate attorney Joe Ourth's letter in open session at the beginning of the hearing, Avery said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

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