Appellate court sides with Mercyhealth on 13-bed Crystal Lake hospital

Appellate court sides with Mercyhealth on 13-bed Crystal Lake hospital

Mercyhealth won its appeal Monday to construct a 13-bed hospital in Crystal Lake.

The Second District Appellate Court of Illinois ruled that the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board acted properly when it approved the project in 2017, rejecting arguments from Centegra Health System and Advocate Health Care that the board did not follow its statute when approving the hospital.

“This is wonderful for the people of Crystal Lake who have never had access …to an emergency room, if you can believe it,” Javon Bea, president and CEO of Mercyhealth, told Health News Illinois Monday afternoon. “The residents really wanted this and have wanted if for a long time.”

The system plans to break ground on the nearly $100 million facility next spring, with an expected completion date of 2021. Plans include a 13-bed hospital with private inpatient and intensive care beds, operating rooms and an emergency department. It will also be attached to a clinic housing nearly 40 multi-specialty Mercy physicians.

“What makes this work is having a multi-specialty physician clinic attached where the physicians are utilizing the facility,” Bea said. “You would never build a facility like this and hope that independent physicians would send patients there.”

The court said opponents failed to provide “compelling reason” for their argument that the review board did not follow its statute that says any hospital located within any of the state’s major metropolitan areas must have a minimum of 100 medical-surgical beds. The court ruled that past precedent allows the board to issue a Certificate of Need even if a project fails to meet all requirements.

“It was within the board’s discretion to approve Mercy’s application despite the failure to meet all the review criteria,” the court wrote in their decision.

The court also found the review board gave proper consideration of the statute during a public hearing and subsequent board meeting.

The decision reverses last year’s ruling from a circuit judge that overturned the review board’s approval.

Northwestern Medicine, which acquired Centegra last year, declined to comment. Advocate did not return a request for comment.


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