MercyRockford Hospital is giving Rockford aldermen just one week to make a decision regarding their request that the building fee for their new campus be cut in half. The hospital is threatening to move the project to Wisconsin if their request isn’t met.
In a letter sent to aldermen, CEO of MercyRockford Javon Bea said that despite numerous attempts to compromise with city administrators, he has been unable to get the building fee lowered, which is why he is making the request of aldermen now.
He also says building in Wisconsin would actually be more beneficial to them — because in Illinois, they face “significantly higher medical malpractice and workers compensation insurance costs when compared with operating a similar facility in Wisconsin.”
A committee approved the $900,000 cut Monday night, sending the motion to a full council vote next Monday. Many aldermen say they feel threatened by such a large request coming so close to Mercy’s March 7 deadline.
“To say, ‘…Oh by the way, I’m gonna pull my half billion dollar project and I’m not gonna give you a chance to do anything about it’, that’s just being rude to me as one of the leaders of the city,” said Alderman Jamie Getchius during Monday night’s meeting.
Others are concerned about the economic impact of the city losing a project this big.
“$900,000 is a lot of money, but in terms of everything we’ve heard tonight of the potential going forward, I’m not sure I understand how much money that is, in terms of what it would be if we lost it,” said Alderman Frank Beach.
Now aldermen are also now under pressure from OSF Saint Anthony medical center — which had opposed the project when it was announced back in November of 2015. The hospital saying today that they’re waiting to react until after the full council vote, but that they “hope the decision will be fair to all of the city’s medical providers.”
Despite the pressure, Mayor Larry Morrissey remains against cutting the fee.
“If they make the decision to move the hospital, I won’t understand it, but I will accept it as we have to accept it,” said Morrissey.