Congratulations are in order.
First to Centegra Health System officials and staff, whose hard work and persistence in the face of many obstacles paid off Tuesday when the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board finally gave the OK to build a new Centegra hospital in Huntley.
But also to area residents, particularly in northern Kane and southern McHenry counties, who in a few years will have better access to health care.
After two prior attempts to get state approval to build the new hospital at its existing campus at Haligus and Reed roads in Huntley fell short, Centegra won approval Tuesday on a 6-3 vote.
That means the McHenry County-based health care provider can move forward with building its 128-bed, $233 million hospital, its third full service hospital in the county. Centegra also has hospitals in McHenry and Woodstock.
In addition to improving health care in the area, the Centegra project will be a boon to the local economy. Centegra expects 800 construction jobs to be created to build the hospital. After the new hospital opens and begins treating patients in 2016, 1,100 permanent jobs will be created.
That’s great news for the region.
Mercy Health System, which operates a hospital in Harvard, also is seeking state approval to build a new hospital in Crystal Lake.
Like Centegra, its first two bids were denied by the state review board. Mercy is not as far along as Centegra in the appeals process. But now that Centegra has been approved, it’s unlikely that Mercy will be too. The Huntley hospital is just the second new hospital in 30 years to gain state approval, and McHenry County doesn’t need two new hospitals.
After a careful examination of both proposals, the Northwest Herald’s Editorial Board previously endorsed Centegra’s Huntley hospital plan.
By the state’s own data, McHenry County is the most underserved area in lllinois with regard to the number of available hospital beds per capita. The second most underserved area in the state is northern Kane County.
We said then that the Huntley hospital is best suited to meet current and future needs of area residents.
We’re pleased that the state finally agreed with us.