OrthoIllinois’ surgery center falls short at review board meeting, vote on Quincy Medical Group’s hospital delayed
A proposal to construct a new ambulatory surgical treatment center in Elgin narrowly failed to pass during Tuesday’s meeting of the Illinois Health Facilities Services Review Board.
The board voted 5-2 in favor of the $17.8 million project, one short of the six votes necessary to pass. Tuesday’s meeting comes a week after Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law a plan that, in part, expands the board to 11 members. Previously, only five votes would have been needed to pass.
The center, proposed by OrthoIllinois, would provide podiatric, pain management and orthopedic services and complement existing services in the region, CEO Don Schreiner told the board before the vote.
“I think our application and our commitment to serve our patients, regardless of their insurance type, is what is most important,” he said “The community knows us, and we’re committed to providing high-quality care to everyone.”
Opponents, which included several area lawmakers and representatives of Advocate Aurora Health and Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, told the review board the project was duplicitous and would damage existing safety net services in the region.
“If we want to build a healthy community for all residents and drive health equity, we must preserve access to safety-net services,” said state Rep. Suzanne Ness, D-Carpentersville. “For this reason, I am deeply concerned with the new for-profit surgical center that is being proposed.”
Board members said they have some concerns with the proposal, but several said they were pleased with what they heard from OrthoIllinois.
“I think this business model shows an incredible clinical benefit to the people living in the surrounding area,” said board member Gary Kaatz.
Juan Morado Jr., an attorney representing OrthoIllinois, said they plan to bring the project back to the board to address concerns raised by the two board members who voted against the project.
The board also delayed action on a $61.1 million plan by Quincy Medical Group to build a 28-bed, small-format hospital. After hours of public comments on both agenda items, the board no longer had a quorum to take action on the project by late Tuesday afternoon.
The board recessed the meeting and board Administrator Courtney Avery said they will work with members and the applicant to schedule a new date to consider the plan.
Quincy Medical Group said the project is a vital piece to transforming healthcare in the region. It includes 25 med-surg beds, three labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum rooms, a C-section suite, a 10-bay emergency department, three operating rooms, one procedure room and a 13-bay post-anesthesia care unit.
“QMG will improve the well-being of citizens with high-quality affordable healthcare,” said Katie Schelp, director of recruitment and practice development. “We successfully recruit highly skilled physicians from all over the world and have become part of the fabric of our community. The QMG hospital will provide a unique practice opportunity that will attract even more physicians.”
QMG CEO Carol Brockmiller said after the meeting they were grateful for the comments and were eager for the board to reconvene.
Blessing Health System argued the project was duplicitous and would strain the region’s limited healthcare workforce.
CEO Maureen Kahn said it could put the area’s healthcare system in “jeopardy.”
“We have extended our hand to QMG in partnership,” she said. “It’s been ignored, but we know that it is in the best interest of our community and our patients to continue to extend our hand. It is our hope that in the future, QMG will see that it is the best way to provide the highest quality of care for our entire region is by working together and not against each other.”