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State planners say ‘no need’ for Vista proposal

Renditiproposed VistMedical Center Lindenhurst. | Special Sun-Times Media

Rendition of proposed Vista Medical Center in Lindenhurst. | Special to Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 24, 2013 1:16AM

LINDENHURST — Two weeks before Vista Health System’s proposal to build a 132-bed hospital in Lindenhurst is scheduled for a hearing before the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, a staff report from the state agency has determined that “the proposed project does not appear to be in conformance with the need” for a new acute-care facility in Lake County.

“The applicants have requested beds in excess of the calculated bed need and there are existing facilities in the planning area operating below the target occupancy for medical surgical and obstetric services,” the State Agency Report (SAR) reads in its executive summary. “It does not appear that the proposed facility will improve access as there are existing facilities within 45 minutes of the proposed hospital location.”

The staff report also notes that “as part of this submittal, the applicants are proposing to discontinue 108 medical surgical beds at the applicants’ Vista Medical Center East hospital in Waukegan.” Vista East currently has 256 beds.

“Demand for this project is not based upon projected physician referrals or rapid population growth in the planning area. The applicants are basing the demand for this project on the redistribution of beds from the Vista East facility in Waukegan to the proposed hospital in Lindenhurst,” the report states. “Current utilization at the Vista East facility would justify 115 medical surgical beds, 28 intensive care beds and 11 obstetric beds at the State Board’s target occupancy for a total of 154 beds at both facilities. If this project should be approved by the State Board, there would be 141 medical surgical beds, 23 intensive care beds and 29 obstetric beds at the Vista East-Waukegan facility, and 100 medical surgical beds, 12 intensive care beds and 20 obstetric beds at the Vista Lindenhurst facility for a total of 325 beds.”

The report does find Vista’s $131 million proposal to be in compliance on 20 of 23 requirements, including such factors as staffing levels and “reasonableness of financing arrangements.”

But the report added that the project would negatively “impact other planning area providers that are not operating at the State Board’s target occupancy” on certain clinical services, and that its proposed cardiac-catheterization services would “have a negative impact on existing services (in) McHenry, Lake and Kane counties.”

“It does not appear that the proposed facility will improve service access in the planning area, as there are existing services within 45 minutes of the proposed hospital operating at less than the State Board’s target occupancy or medical surgical and obstetric beds,” the report added. “Vista East-Waukegan, Midwestern-Zion, Advocate Condell-Libertyville, and Advocate Good Shepherd Barrington are not at target occupancy for medical surgical beds, and all facilities in the planning area are not at the 75 percent target occupancy for obstetric beds. All facilities are at target occupancy for intensive care services.”

Barbara Martin, president and CEO of Vista Health, said Tuesday that the final word has yet to be written on the project, noting that the full board is scheduled to review the proposal Feb. 5 in Bolingbrook.

“We thank the Review Board staff members for their thorough review of our Certificate of Need application. The findings in their staff report for Vista Medical Center Lindenhurst were very similar to staff reports for hospitals that have been approved by the Review Board,” Martin said.

“The Vista Medical Center Lindenhurst project will provide vital access to life-saving care for residents of north central and northwestern Lake County. We look forward to presenting our Certificate of Need application for this project at the Feb. 5 Review Board meeting in Bolingbrook. We remain committed to serving all patients — regardless of need — at all our locations.”

Vista’s proposal calls for a facility at Grand Avenue and Deep Lake Road that would feature 100 medical surgical beds, 12 intensive care beds and 20 obstetric beds. Along with cardiac-catheterization services, the new facility would offer clinical services that include seven surgical suites and an emergency department. The report notes that the anticipated completion date would be Aug. 31, 2016.

The state rejected a Vista proposal to build a $106 million version of Lindenhurst acute-care facility in January 2009, when what was then known as the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board voted 2-2 on issuing a Certificate of Need.

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