Silver Cross plans Frankfort emergency center
By Bob Okon bokon@stmedianetwork December 6, 2012 6:04PM
Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox
Updated: January 8, 2013 6:32AM
Silver Cross Hospital plans an $8.8 million emergency center in Frankfort.
The project appears designed in part to compete with a similar facility being planned for Frankfort by Riverside Medical Center.
New Lenox-based Silver Cross filed an application for the emergency center with state regulators on Nov. 21, less than two weeks after Riverside notified the state of its plans.
On the same day that Silver Cross filed its application, Chief Executive Officer Paul Pawlak sent a letter to his counterpart at Riverside expressing his opposition to the Kankakee-based hospital’s plan to build an emergency center in Frankfort.
Pawlak said Riverside’s emergency center “would have a tremendous negative impact on emergency services provided by Silver Cross Hospital.”
Pawlak’s letter to Riverside Chief Executive Officer Phillip Kambic was subsequently filed with the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, which would have to approve the Silver Cross and Riverside projects before they can be built.
The Silver Cross emergency center is slated for the corner of U.S. 30 and 93rd Avenue. It would have four treatment rooms and be open 24 hours.
The Riverside project is planned for 23100 S. LaGrange Road. It would have six treatment rooms and is priced at $10.3 million.
A Silver Cross spokeswoman said in an email that the hospital has owned the Frankfort land for many years and submitted plans for a medical office building on the site in 2008. That plan was withdrawn “due to the recession,” spokeswoman Tracy Simons said.
She said changes in state law have opened up opportunities to build freestanding emergency centers. Silver Cross also has been satisfied with a similar facility it has in Homer Glen, Simons said.
An emergency center in Frankfort would be “closer to patients’ homes” and serve a growing population, Simons said.
Silver Cross in February closed its hospital in Joliet and moved all medical services to a new hospital built in New Lenox along Interstate 355. Silver Cross still has $400 million in debt from that project. Simons said Silver Cross would not have to borrow money to build the emergency center in Frankfort.
Riverside officials did not return a call seeking comment.
Pawlak, in his letter to the Riverside CEO, also said Silver Cross has been a “long-standing” provider of emergency services in Frankfort and surrounding communities.
“Silver Cross Hospital strongly opposes your proposed facility due to the anticipated negative effect on our emergency services — services that we have been providing for more than a century,” Pawlak concludes.
Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest also sent a letter to Riverside that is on file with the state review board. Advocate describes its emergency department as under used and contends the proposed facility in Frankfort would worsen the situation.