State analysis: Need for new hospitals not justified in McHenry County

 
 

A state analysis has concluded that McHenry County doesn't need any more hospitals, a notion that could spell trouble for the two hospitals seeking state permission to build there.

Meanwhile, authorities at two rival hospitals said the report validates what they've said all along.

Centegra Health System is seeking a certificate of need from the state to construct a 128-bed hospital in Huntley. Mercy Health System wants to build a 70-bed facility in Crystal Lake.

The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board is scheduled to vote on the projects Dec. 7 in Bolingbrook -- it previously rejected both hospitals over the summer.

The analysis, released this week and included as staff reports for the board members, says there are nine existing hospitals within 45 minutes of the proposed facilities that are operating below capacity.

Moreover, the state agency report says the hospitals, if built, would affect other hospitals in that area that aren't operating at full capacity. It used both hospitals' proposals to reach their conclusions.

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"The state report reflects the reality that new hospitals are not needed in McHenry County," Rick Floyd, president and CEO of Elgin-based Sherman Health, said in a statement.

Karen Lambert, president of Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, agreed.

"Hospitals in McHenry County and those just outside, including Advocate Good Shepherd, all have available beds," she said in a statement.

The analysis also calls out Mercy for proposing a hospital that does not comply with state standards that new hospitals in metropolitan areas offer at least 100 beds.

Mercy Health Vice President Rich Gruber brushed that criticism aside.

"We'll be arguing that the state agency report is an error in terms of the need for a hospital in Crystal Lake," Gruber said. " ... And we'll demonstrate that with additional evidence that a 70-bed hospital will meet the needs of that population that today, does not have ready access to hospital services."

Susan Milford, Centegra's vice president of strategic planning, pointed to another part of the analysis that shows 138 medical surgical beds will be needed in the area by 2018. Centegra is proposing 100 such beds.

"We believe that the board will really see that our project in Huntley is located where the true growth is," Milford said. "We believe that they'll want to tell the senior citizens, the young families in the area that they deserve a hospital."

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