ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Mercyhealth will discontinue providing inpatient medical and surgical services at its Rockton Avenue hospital, by January 12th, 2022.

The hospital will begin the transition in December.

In August 2020, Mercyhealth announced it would only be providing outpatient and clinic services at the West side location, at 2400 N. Rockton Avenue.

“Mercyhealth is unaware of any other city the size of Rockford in the state of Illinois that has three trauma centers,” the hospital said in a press release on Wednesday. “Mercyhealth plans to consolidate its outpatient services primarily at Javon Bea Hospital–Rockton and inpatient services at Javon Bea Hospital–Riverside.”

“Given the severe nursing and health care staffing shortages right now, it doesn’t make sense to continue down our current course. Realigning services across our one hospital license, located between two campuses allows us to provide a more robust outpatient facility at Rockton and expand our inpatient campus at Riverside,” said President and CEO Javon Bea.

“On December 15, Mercyhealth will be integrating its Rockton Avenue Campus medical/surgical inpatient beds at its Riverside location, and transition to a standby emergency department on the Rockton Avenue Campus on December 20. A standby emergency department consists of nurses on location with a physician on call,” the release continued.

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

The outpatient services located at Mercyhealth’s Rockton Avenue Campus location include:

  • Outpatient surgeries
  • Cancer services, including outpatient chemotherapy infusion treatment
  • Endoscopy
  • Gastroenterology
  • Family medicine
  • Laboratory
  • Pain Center
  • Radiology and imaging
  • Pulmonology
  • Cardiology
  • Cardiac/pulmonology rehabilitation
  • Endocrinology
  • Neurology
  • General pediatrics
  • Prehospital and Emergency Services Center
  • Internal medicine
  • Ophthalmology
  • Adult and pediatric orthopedics
  • Outpatient EEG/EMG
  • Physical therapy
  • Podiatry
  • Rheumatology
  • Wound Center

The healthcare provider applied for a Certificate of Exemption from the Illinois Health and Services Review Board to discontinue the inpatient services by January 2022.

In September, the board approved Mercyhealth’s petition to discontinue mental health services at the hospital.

In 2015, when planning for the Riverside hospital was underway, Mercyhealth President and CEO Javon Bea said the Rockton hospital would keep its services.

In September of 2020, that changed when Bea announced that the company was removing services from the Rockton campus, saying the location was adding services including remodeled nursing units, a pharmacy, and a new cancer center.

In response, group of Mercyhealth emergency department employees wrote a letter encouraging Bea to sell the healthcare system.

Bea engaged in a public battle with the City after the Rockton campus was flooded during a June 18th, 2018 storm. Bea filed a lawsuit for $24.2 million in damages.

“The only thing thing that can threaten this hospital is not anything with Mercyhealth. The only thing is if the Mayor continues to refuse to spend a few hundred thousand dollars, to get a bond to put the box culvert in,” Bea said at the time.

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara responded saying, “Instead of working with the city to find solutions, Mercyhealth filed a frivolous lawsuit against Rockford taxpayers. I’m disappointed that Javon Bea continues his practice of cutting services to our residents and then blaming others for those decisions. Let’s be clear: The only person who makes decisions for Mercyhealth is Javon Bea.”