Mercy’s Seeks Second Try at CON for a Crystal Lake Hospital

Mercy officials hope to fulfill Crystal Lake’s dream of a hometown hospital

Mercy Health System has eyed a hospital in Crystal Lake since before the turn of the century. Crystal Lake officials and residents have wanted one even longer.

It is an emotional issue in Crystal Lake, where some residents view this as the town’s last chance to have its own hospital.

The quest for a hospital became a reality in 2004 when Mercy was granted its Certificate of Need from the Illinois Facilities and Review Services Board. But that CON came under scrutiny and “the issue got tied up in a bunch of things we had nothing to do with,” Mercy CEO Rich Gruber said.

Mercy never did anything wrong, but its CON was eventually revoked. The revocation had to do with members of the review board who were implicated in a corruption scandal.

So Mercy and Crystal Lake lost out on an opportunity for a new hospital.

A year later, in 2005, Mercy began working on a new proposal, Gruber said.

It wasn’t until December 2010 that Mercy filed a CON application for a $200 million, 128-bed hospital and a clinic with 48 multi-specialty physicians at Three Oaks Road.

“What makes it somewhat unique is it’s an Integrated Health Delivery System hospital which means we align our doctors and managed care all with the same set of goals and mission and vision. It makes us unique from any other applications in the county,” Gruber said.

An IHDS is a network of health care providers and organization that provides or arranges to provide a continuum of service to a population, according to www.wsha.org.

It is a model that’s getting national recognition as the future of health care, Gruber said, who added Mercy won the 2007 Baldridge Award. It is a prestigious award and Mercy was the first IHDS to receive it.

Guber hopes the review board sees the need for a hospital in Crystal Lake, like it did years ago, and grants the new proposal. He plans to make Mercy’s case personally at Tuesday’s hearing.



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