CRYSTAL LAKE – A state board is expected Tuesday to decide whether it will reconsider Mercy Health System’s proposal to build a $115 million, 70-bed hospital in Crystal Lake.
The health care provider, based in Janesville, Wis., has been trying for nearly a decade to get permission from the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board to build a hospital at Three Oaks Road and Route 31.
In the past 19 months, the review board twice has rejected Mercy’s proposal. However, an administrative law judge recommended that the review board take another look at both Mercy’s plan and a competing proposal from Centegra Health System to build a hospital in Huntley because of a clerical filing error.
The board already has agreed to vote again on Centegra’s plan to build a $233 million, 128-bed hospital near Reed and Haligus roads in Huntley. That vote is expected Tuesday.
Mercy officials want the same opportunity.
“We hope that the board would reconsider,” Mercy Vice President Rich Gruber said.
He said Mercy remains “committed to Crystal Lake.”
In December, the board voted, 4-4, to deny Centegra’s proposal. Five votes were needed for approval, and one of the board’s nine members was absent. Earlier the same day, the board voted, 6-2, to deny Mercy’s plan.
All nine members are expected to attend Tuesday’s meeting, said Frank Urso, the review board’s attorney.
Richard Hart, the administrative law judge who was appointed by the state, recommended that the review board reconsider both proposals after the records had been corrected. The clerical issue involved a filing error by Advocate hospital representatives, who opposed plans for both hospitals.
It’s not clear whether the review board will vote any differently based on the corrected application records.
“It’s a different day, and you don’t know what the board is going to do,” Gruber said.
In previous deliberations, board members never mentioned the filing mix-up as having any bearing on their votes.
Reports from the Illinois Department of Public Health said building another hospital in McHenry County would unnecessarily duplicate existing medical services. Though the reports acknowledged that the county will need 178 additional hospital beds by 2018, they found that other area hospitals were underutilized.
If the review board decides Tuesday to reconsider Mercy’s hospital plan, Urso said the re-vote would likely take place at a subsequent meeting.
Mercy won a bid in 2004 to build a 70-bed hospital in the same Crystal Lake location, but the project got caught up in a kick-back scandal, and a judge ultimately reversed the board’s decision approving the project. Mercy officials were never accused of wrongdoing.