A flurry of emails gave Rita Slawek the exciting news that she had longed to hear.
“Everybody was like, yeah! We got it,” said Rita Slawek, president of the Huntley Area Chamber of Commerce.
The news Tuesday that the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board approved Centegra Hospital-Huntley spread through Huntley via social media and word of mouth.
“People are excited,” said Slawek, who attended a hearing in December 2011 where the board narrowly rejected the plan. Tuesday’s news more than made up for that disappointment.
The review board approved a Certificate of Need (CON) for a $233 million, 128-bed hospital at Haligus and Reed Roads by a vote of 6-3.
“Centegra Health System has been an outstanding partner for many years and Huntley is excited to welcome a full-service Centegra hospital to our village,” said Huntley Mayor Chuck Sass in a statement. “Top-of-the-line health care close to home is exactly what our growing population needs.”
Centegra Hospital-Huntley will have 100 medical surgical beds, a eight-bed Intensive Care Unit, a full-service emergency department with a Level II trauma center, a Level II special care nursery, non-invasive cardiology services, a helipad for transporting critical patients and a dedicated women’s center, according to a release.
State figures showed that McHenry County has the second greatest need for a hospital of any area in the state, Centegra officials said.
“We are thrilled by the board’s decision,” said Centegra Health System Chief Executive Officer Michael S. Eesley, in a release. “Residents of southern McHenry County and northern Kane County need better access to hospital care, and the state recognized that. This is a great day for communities in this region that are currently underserved when it comes to health care.”
The project is expected to create 800 construction jobs and employ 1,100 area residents, Centegra officials said.
“We are just thrilled to be bringing this to our community and we are grateful for the many community members who supported the hospital over this long process,” said Susan Milford, Centegra Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning.
Centegra applied for a CON in December 2010. Weeks later, Mercy Health Care applied for a CON to build a hospital in Crystal Lake.
A public hearing last spring drew hundreds of comments from officials, business leaders and community members in support of a Huntley hospital. Opponents, including Mercy Health Care and Sherman Hospital in Elgin, spoke out against the plan.
Sherman continues to oppose the new hospital. Sherman Health officials released a statement expressing their disappointment and questioning the board’s “sudden” change of heart.
“We don’t understand why the Board would have suddenly reversed its decision,” said Rick Floyd, president and CEO of Sherman Health in a release. “Nothing has changed since the Review Board last considered this proposal in December. They agreed with us then that a new hospital is not needed in McHenry County.”
Sherman, along with Advocate Health in Barrington, raised three main points against Centegra’s plan that have not changed:
- Insufficient volume due to lack of projected growth in the market (which includes southern McHenry and northern Kane counties).
- Duplication of services
- Provisions of health care reform that encourage consolidation among systems to reduce costs and better manage the health care needs of large populations.
Both hospitals also opposed Mercy’s plan. The review board is scheduled a hearing for Mercy in September, however, it is unlikely to move forward since the need for medical beds has now been met by Centegra’s plan.
The Centegra Hospital-Huntley is scheduled to open its doors in 2015.