SwedishAmerican Expansion Receives Approval Despite Opposition

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Local hospitals are setting up shop all over the Stateline. Mercyhealth is building its newest addition just off of the I-90. OSF is constructing their new tower on E. State Street. Now, a multi-million dollar plan has been approved for SwedishAmerican hospital. After two tries, the condensed plan passed.

But the vote of approval for the hospital expansion didn’t come easy. Mercyhealth pushed the Illinois’ Health Facilities and Services Review Board hard to deny Swedes’ proposal for the second time. The health system’s President and CEO spoke at the hearing, as well as a representative for State Senator Dave Syverson, who serves on Mercy’s board.

“You possess the authority today to deny their request,” said Syverson’s representative.

“The only part that I do not support is the fact that they have buried in the application trying to get approval to build a duplicate level 3 10 bed NICU,” said Mercyhealth President & CEO Javon Bea.

But, the proposal had its share of supporters. Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara, State Representative John Cabello and State Senator Steve Stadelman all spoke in favor of the project. Even a Rockford pastor too.

“Swedes has been in the downtown area,” said Pastor Joseph Dixon. “[It] has serviced our west and south sides over the last hundred years.”

The now approved $126 million Swedes project includes a new women and childrens tower, modernization of the existing Downtown Rockford campus, new private rooms for patients, among other renovations. The same review board denied the plan in September because it was too big.

“We’ve also reduced the size of the project by several million dollars,” said SwedishAmerican President & CEO Dr. Michael Born. “It now meets all the criteria by the board.”

The original plan called for $130 million. Swedes also reduced the number of beds in the NICU from 28 to 10.

“Swedish American is developing the level 3 NICU in our existing tower,” said Dr. Born. “We anticipate that will be operationalized later this calendar year.”

While the NICU will be the first major addition for the hospital to begin operations — construction for the entire project is expected to be completed by 2020.

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