Mercyhealth ending in-patient emergency services at Rockton Avenue campus, city aldermen react

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Mercyhealth announced that it will be providing only outpatient and clinic services at its Rockton Avenue location, in an effort to consolidate staff between its two hospitals.

CEO Javon Bea revealed the changes Tuesday afternoon.

The company said it will use ambulance services to transport certain emergency room patients from its Rockton Campus to the Level 1 Trauma Center at its Riverside Campus.

“We have reassessed our services between our campuses and taken some helpful steps to provide better coordination of care for our patients and streamline services for faster and more efficient patient responsiveness. These adjustments will assist us in adapting to the massive changes in our patient care patterns caused by the decline in patient volume due to COVID-19.  It is a new world and, like so many other businesses and health systems, we must adapt.  It is just common sense to streamline and unify our services between our two campuses for efficiency and better coordination and continuity of care for our patients, with the changing patient patterns resulting from COVID-19,” said Javon Bea President/CEO Mercyhealth.

Some Rockford City aldermen aren’t happy with Mercyhealth’s decision to shut down the trauma emergency services on the west side location.

“I honestly believe he knew he was going to do this five years ago,” said 7th Ward Ald. Ann Thompson-Kelly (D).

“I just find it not only disingenuous but almost cruel that Mr. Bae used the COVID-19 crisis as the footing from removing services from a community of color that has the highest trauma rate in the city,” said 5th Ward Alderman Venita Hervey.

The decision didn’t go over well with community members either.

These are not the first cuts made by Mercyhealth. Earlier this year the facility cut a pediatric intensive care unit, in-patient acute mental illness services, and some Medicaid patients were also dropped.

“I don’t like what he’s done to the healthcare system in Rockford. We had two level one trauma centers for a reason. They’re not money makers they’re there to provide a service. They’re there to take care of emergent care of the highest level,” said Alderwoman Hervey.

“Every time a major issue comes forward the services are reduced at Rockton Campus and it always gets blamed on that supposed issue, but I think it’s fair to say that the public deserves an answer on what the long term plan is for Javon Bae Mercy Campus at Rockton,” said 9th Ward Alderman Bill Rose.

“He lied to the community about his investment and his dedication and his concern and his well being that he’s going to maintain himself on the north side of Rockford,” Alderwoman Thompson-Kelly said.

“There’s just a lot of things that border on the cruel and I think they send a message that communities of color don’t matter,” added Alderwoman Hervey.

Mercyhealth said the move comes after decreased volume in its emergency departments, an increase in telemedicine, and lower surgery volumes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara also issued a statement:

We are incredibly fortunate in Rockford to have three excellent hospital systems. However, I’m disappointed by the recent actions of the Mercyhealth administration. In the last several months, Mercyhealth has closed its Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Mental Health Unit, as well as stopped accepting certain Medicaid patients. Today, Mercyhealth announced a reduction of its Emergency Department services on the North Rockton Avenue campus. This move eliminates a much-needed full-service Emergency Department for residents on the west side of our community. I understand that many businesses are struggling during this pandemic, and health care is no exception. However, Mercyhealth continues to balance its budget by cutting services that disproportionately impact people in our community that need help the most.

I do not believe the actions of the administration reflect the hearts of its employees. I’d like to offer a sincere thank you to the hundreds of Mercyhealth employees for their dedication and service to the residents of this community.”

Mayor Tom McNamara

The Rockton Avenue Campus will continue its outpatient hospital and clinic services including:

  • Surgery services
  • Full operating rooms
  • Cancer services, including outpatient chemotherapy infusion treatment
  • Endoscopy
  • Family medicine
  • Laboratory
  • Pain Center
  • Inpatient pharmacy
  • Radiology
  • Pulmonology
  • Cardiac/pulmonology rehabilitation
  • Endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology and GI Procedures– newly renovated
  • Neurology
  • Pediatrics
  • General surgery
  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopedics
  • Sub-acute inpatient services
  • Outpatient EEG/EMG
  • Physical therapy
  • Podiatry
  • Rheumatology
  • Wound Center

We did reach out to Mercyhealth for an interview about the consolidation announcement but they declined.

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