Silver Cross tries again for emergency center in Frankfort
By Susan DeMar Lafferty email@example.com January 23, 2014 9:27PM
Updated: February 25, 2014 6:32AM
Silver Cross Hospital has not given up on its plan to build a 24-hour emergency care center in Frankfort.
It will be back before the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board on Tuesday. The state board a year ago rejected the hospital’s proposal for an $8.7 million center at U.S. 30 and LaGrange Road.
Board members opposed the plan in a 6-1 vote, saying the emergency center would be an unnecessary duplication of services in the Southland and that local hospitals’ emergency rooms were underused.
At that same meeting, the board denied a similar request by Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee to build a $10.3 million emergency center at LaGrange and Steger roads in Frankfort. Riverside withdrew its application in November, according to the board’s website.
That withdrawal could help Silver Cross’ position or it could indicate that there’s not a need for such a center, said Dan Marino, of Health Directions LLC, a consulting group in Oak Brook.
“It will be a tall order for Silver Cross since it just built that new hospital (in New Lenox),” he said, adding that hospital officials will have to try to convince the state board that there’s a need for more emergency care in the area and that the new ER will not drive up the costs of health care.
As it did last year, the state review board will consider the planned center’s impact on other emergency care facilities in the Southland. The board’s staff reported that existing ERs in Silver Cross’ service area have approximately a 37 percent utilization rate.
In its application, Silver Cross agrees that some emergency rooms in the Southland are underused, including Franciscan St. James Health in Olympia Fields, South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey and Metro South Medical Center in Blue Island.
But Silver Cross contends that the patients who would use the Frankfort ER would not be drawn away from those hospitals but would come from its hospital in New Lenox or from its emergency center in Homer Glen. Those sites have seen a 6.8 percent increase in emergency room visits since February 2012, when the New Lenox hospital opened, Silver Cross says in its application.
Silver Cross’ market share of emergency patients from its service area, which is not defined specifically, has increased from 22.6 percent in 2010 to more than 27.4 percent for the year ending June 2012, according to its application. It says that in that same time period, its share of Frankfort residents rose to 31 percent from 25 percent.
Part of the increase in ER services may be that people are using ERs more than they should, Marino said.
In their decision last year, members of the review board also said the cost of the proposed center was too high and exceeded the state norms.
The Frankfort site is undeveloped and would require significant infrastructure improvements and soil testing. Silver Cross says it has budgeted for such expenses, including $550,000 for excavation; $200,000 for paving; and $150,000 for a new stoplight at U.S. 30 and 93rd Avenue.
Also on the agenda of the Tuesday meeting are:
An application from Cagles Dialysis LLC to build a $3.3 million dialysis center at 10511 Harlem Ave., in Worth. The board denied the project last month, saying that 19 of 34 such facilities within a 30-minute drive of the proposed center are not meeting the state’s targeted goal of 80 percent occupancy.
A request for another permit renewal from Rest Haven Illiana Christian Convalescent Home to again delay the opening of a 50-bed skilled nursing home at Victorian Village in Homer Glen. The facility was to open in December 2012 but twice was delayed because of financing and construction delays as well as changes to the plan by Homer Glen. Rest Haven now expects to open the home in July.