Good Shepherd proposes $247M renovation

BARRINGTON – Advocate Health plans to spend $247 million to expand and modernize its 34-year-old hospital in Barrington, building private rooms for patients, adding hospital beds, and upgrading medical departments.

The project is expected to cost $246.84 million and requires approval from the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board.

Advocate Good Shepherd President Karen Lambert said hospital officials had looked at several other options in the last several years before deciding to renovate.

Alternatives included building a replacement hospital for $339 million, a larger expansion that would have added 56 hospital beds at a cost of $274 million and doing the projects one at time, which hospital officials estimated would cost $300 million. They also considered doing nothing.

“You always have to ask those questions,” Lambert said. “And we did.”

Advocate Good Shepherd officials decided to move forward with the lower cost plan. Lambert called it more of a “modernization” for the hospital, built in 1979, than an expansion.

Plans call for erecting a building on the north side of the existing facility to house private patient rooms.

Half of the hospital’s current rooms are dual-occupancy.

“Private rooms are becoming an expectation,” Lambert said, adding that the rooms wouldn’t cost patients more.

In a detailed application filed with the state review board, Advocate said single-patient rooms help limit the spread of infection.

The project will expand the hospital’s intensive care unit, update most of the departments to meet industry standards, and relocate other care facilities to allow doctors and nurses to spend more time with patients.

“The new facilities will offer updated technology, which is difficult to provide in a facility designed 40 years ago,” Advocate said in the application. “The goal to keep patients healthy and out of inpatient beds is reflected in the project.”

Good Shepherd’s emergency department, laboratory, and mother-child services areas won’t be touched, but all of hospital’s other departments will be updated. Renovations are designed to make the hospital more technology-friendly and more energy efficient.

The project is divided into multiple phases. All work should be done by December 2017, according to the application. Altogether, it would bring Good Shepherd’s bed count up to 176, from 169.

Barrington Village President Karen Darch has publicly backed the expansion.

“Many facilities being updated in this project have not been modernized since the hospital opened over 30 years ago,” she wrote in a letter to the state’s review board. “Industry standards and patient expectations have changed over the years and this project will bring the hospital into alignment with current standards.”

Several local residents, officials, and physicians also wrote letters to the board supporting the project.

“I’m also supportive of this plan because of how thoughtful it addresses resident’s needs,” Barrington Township Supervisor Gene Dawson wrote. “Rather than simply adding beds, the Good Shepherd team recognizes the changing landscape of health care and only adds critical care beds and operating rooms that are necessary.”

Dr. Dean Feldman, president and chairman of Barrington Anesthesia Associates, wrote that two of Good Shepherd’s 12 surgical operating rooms had enough room for complex orthopedic procedures.

Competing hospitals in the area have questioned whether the project is needed, particularly in terms of the overall cost.

But Lambert said the costs were justified.

“Our undersized operating room can’t accommodate new clinical technology that is used in the operating room today,” she said.

The project will allow for additional features – such as a community education room – that weren’t envisioned when the hospital was built.

“We’re excited to bring this to our patients and our community,” Lambert said.

She said the proposal could go before the state review board in June.

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