Mercyhealth announces plans to build microhospital in Crystal Lake

CRYSTAL LAKE – Mercy Health System has submitted an application to the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board to build a microhospital in Crystal Lake.

The new hospital would be at the corner of Three Oaks Road and Route 31, across Three Oaks Road from the Holiday Inn – the same site where it sought to build a full hospital in 2003. The microhospital would include 13 beds, two operating rooms, a 24/7 emergency room and a clinic.

Mercyhealth said the new microhospital will create more than 150 new jobs if approved. In addition to the new jobs, Mercyhealth employees at four nearby Crystal Lake clinics and one in Lake in the Hills would transfer to the new site.

Clinics in McHenry, Woodstock, Algonquin and other nearby areas will not be affected.

“We’re looking to expand services for our patients in this community and those who have limited transportation in Crystal Lake, including charity care, Medicaid and elderly patients in general,” Mercyhealth Vice President Jeni Hallatt said. “The goal is for patients that just need an overnight stay to be stabilized and later be transferred to a higher level of care.”

“Charity care, Medicaid patients and even the elderly – for that population to find transportation and drive outside of Crystal Lake is a burden,” said Barb Bortner, Mercyhealth vice president of marketing and public relations. “So to be able to provide this to that population is really something that is needed here within the community.”

As part of the plan, Mercyhealth is asking the review board to allow for the redistribution of 13 licensed inpatient beds from Mercy Harvard Hospital to the new facility. The Harvard hospital currently has 18 licensed acute care beds, but because of the relocation of patient care services from the hospital to outpatient facilities, 13 beds aren’t being used.

“With that redistribution, the services at Harvard will remain the same way they are today,” said Jennifer Hall, Mercyhealth vice president of government relations and community advocacy.

Hall said the project’s construction should cost about $82 million for the hospital and an additional $23 million for the clinic.

Mercyhealth twice has proposed a $115 million, 70-bed hospital in Crystal Lake, but the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board denied the proposal on two separate occasions in 2011 and 2012. The state ultimately said there wasn’t a need.

If the review board approves the new facility, Mercyhealth officials hope it opens around November 2020.

“Microhospitals is a trend we’re seeing throughout the country,” Hall said. “We’re trying to bring a small, responsible hospital that can serve our patients properly.”

Mercyhealth officials said they’ve reached out to nearby competitors – Centegra Health System and Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital – to inform them about the plans. They said they hope to build partnerships with Centegra and Advocate because the microhospital could become a feeder to the other two systems.

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