Does McHenry County, Illinois need a new hospital?
The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board is expected to address the question this month when it considers certificate-of-need (CON) applications submitted by Mercy Crystal Lake Hospital & Medical Center and Centegra Health System.
Mercy proposes to construct a hospital in the community of Crystal Lake, while Centegra plans to build in Huntley. Meanwhile, the Review Board’s data indicates that McHenry County may need a new hospital soon, but not this year.
Moreover, the Board’s data suggests McHenry County will need, at most, one new hospital in the coming years. Therefore, the race is on as Mercy and Centegra vie to be the first to cross the finish line and obtain the coveted CON. Many factors could determine the outcome of this race.
The odds of either hospital receiving a CON are not favorable. Historically, the Board has been reluctant to approve new hospitals. Since 1976, the Board has granted only one CON for a new hospital. However, Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, approved in 2004, obtained its CON with much less favorable Board data when compared with the need data applicable to the McHenry County projects.
Adventist’s planning area had a surplus of 263 medical/surgical (M/S) beds. McHenry County, in comparison, needs 83 M/S beds. Despite this stated need, each Hospital proposes 100 M/S beds, which is 17 beds over the projected need. Board regulations provide that proposals for new hospitals within metropolitan statistical areas must be for no fewer than 100 M/S beds. As a result of this rule, Board staff will likely conclude that a need for the project does not exist at this time.