Mercy's request for Crystal Lake hospital denied again

The state again has rejected Mercy Health System’s request to build a Crystal Lake hospital.

The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board on Tuesday voted, 6-3, against granting a certificate of need to Mercy to build a $115 million, 70-bed hospital at Three Oaks Road and Route 31. Mercy had scaled down its plans from a 128-bed facility in the hope of getting permission to build.

On appeal, board members in July granted rival Centegra Health System permission to build a $233 million, 128-bed hospital at Reed and Haligus roads in Huntley. A certificate of need is required in Illinois to build or expand hospitals.

Mercy Vice President Rich Gruber said the Janesville, Wis.-based health system will review its options.

“We believe that the hospital has a great deal of merit and want to keep that project alive so the good residents of the Crystal Lake area have access to high-quality medical services close to home,” Gruber said.

The board’s decision upheld its 6-2 vote in December to deny Mercy a certificate of need. Board members in December also denied Centegra’s proposal on a 4-4 vote.

It later agreed to reconsider both hospital systems’ requests because of a clerical mix-up that excluded related reports.

Mercy’s rivals expressed satisfaction with the board’s decision Tuesday.

Susan Milford, Centegra vice president of strategic planning, said the vote “ ... affirms that Centegra planned appropriately” to meet growing demand.

“We are pleased, and believe it is very sensible, that the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board agreed that Crystal Lake is not the best location for a new hospital in McHenry County,” Milford said in a statement.

Sherman Health President and CEO Rick Floyd said in a statement that the board’s vote supports his hospital’s contention the Mercy hospital would “duplicate health care services that already exist for residents of northern Kane County and southeastern McHenry County.”

It’s a feeling that Sherman, Advocate and Mercy share about Centegra’s hospital in Huntley.

All three hospital systems have filed individual lawsuits challenging Centegra’s certificate of need.

Mercy’s complaint alleges the board’s approval was an “arbitrary and capricious” move that ran contrary to the evidence presented and to state criteria for siting hospitals. The lawsuits are filed in Will County, where the planning board met to grant Centegra’s certificate of need.

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