Mercy Rockford officials held a news conference on Tuesday to ease fears about a massive expansion plan.
Their proposed East Side hospital project is creating tension with residents on Rockford’s West Side, who fear important services currently offered at the Rockton Avenue location will be sent east.
But Mercy Rockford President and CEO Javon Bea stresses that the services currently offered will continue to be available at the West Side campus.
“Almost all the primary care and specialty physicians are going to remain on this campus. It’s those high level open heart surgeons, neurosurgeons, perinatologists, neonatologists, that are caring for patients in that building that will be moving to the Riverside campus,” says Bea.
Mercy Rockford announced that they are committing $50 million toward improvements to the Rockton Avenue campus over the next ten years, including re-purposing the original Rockford clinic building. This is in addition to the $400 million to build the new East Side hospital.
But now there’s a new objection being made by another Rockford hospital system.
OSF St. Anthony believes the new hospital could create an unsustainable geographical glut of hospitals on Rockford’s East Side.
“One of our concerns, of many that we raised to the healthcare facility planning board, is the disparity and distribution of healthcare services with the new proposed location,” says Paula Carynski, OSF St. Anthony President.
Officials with OSF say the new hospital will be located just minutes from both their main hospital and Rock Cut facility, competing for millions of dollars in patient care.
“[It amounts to] approximately $24 million worth of payments, which directly translates into about $10 million of net revenue loss for us,” says Carynski.
Despite the disapproval from OSF St. Anthony, MercyRockford has started a petition drive in support of their plan, and they say they have received over 7,000 signatures.