Mercyhealth officials respond to concerns about Rockton campus changes

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Mercyhealth President and CEO Javon Bea wants to clear up what he calls ‘incorrect information’ about the healthcare provider’s West Side location.

Bea says they’re not taking away services; he contends that they’re actually expanding care.

Community concern that Mercyhealth plans to close the Rockton Campus is unwarranted, according to Mercyhealth President and CEO Javon Bea. Bea points to a multi-million dollar investment in the Rockton Avenue facility, including remodeled nursing units, a pharmacy, and a new cancer center as proof.

“It isn’t very logical, do you think, to invest $55 million that were still investing with this rumor floating around that we’re going to close Rockton Avenue?” Bea said.

Bea claims there’s a bigger threat to the fate of the Rockton campus: mother nature. Two years ago, the hospital flooded. Bea says the threat is still there and has called on the City to take action.

“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,” he explained.

Hospital officials confirmed they would be making changes to the emergency department at the Rockton facility. It will no longer operate as a Level II site. Ambulances will automatically take patients to Mercy’s Riverside Level I trauma site.

“We will stabilize the patients. If we can treat them here, we will. If we can send them home, we will. If we need to transfer them to Riverside, or to another facility, we would do that,” said Dr. John Dorsey, Mercyhealth’s VP and Chief Medical Officer.

In the past fiscal year Mercyhealth has lost 73-million dollars in Rockford. Bea says it’s due to COVID-19 and a change in the way Illinois reimburses them for Medicaid patients.

“What Mercyhealth has done for the Rockford region is second to none. I mean, it’s just heads and tails above what any other business has done. And yet, I’ve never heard anything, frankly, good from [Mayor McNamara] about all that we’ve done. Not one thing,” Bea said.

“Why do I keep ‘beating’ on the mayor? … He said the other day, Sunday night, I’m suing the citizens of Rockford. I’m not suing the citizens of Rockford. I’m suing him and his administration for dereliction of duty,” he added.

Mayor Tom McNamara responded to Javon Bae Tuesday night:

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.”

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara

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