SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board earlier this month approved a $126 million expansion of 333-bed Provena St. Joseph Medical Center, Joliet, Ill.; rejected for the second time a proposal by Advocate Health Care to build a new hospital in Tinley Park, Ill.; and deferred a decision on a competing proposal by SSM Health Care. The Joliet expansion includes an eight-story patient tower and 199 new private rooms. The certificate-of-need board has rejected several hospital projects since being dissolved and reconstituted last summer after allegations it was inappropriately influenced in CON decisions.
CHICAGO -- The Illinois Nurses Association sued Cook County, Ill., in early May, seeking a temporary injunction to block a new limit on nurses' overtime -- 20 hours per week except in the case of emergencies, for no more than 640 hours per year, according to the complaint. The union said the policy would force nurses to leave the job after 20 hours of overtime even when staffing levels were unsafe or continue to work at the risk of no pay and possible disciplinary action. The union said it represents an estimated 1,800 nurses in Cook County hospitals and healthcare facilities. It asked an lllinois circuit court to block the policy from being implemented while the union seeks a remedy through the grievance process. A spokesman for John Stroger, president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, said officials were reviewing the lawsuit and had no comment at this time.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Nine-hospital St. Luke's Health System announced earlier in the month a $250 million development plan for its flagship campus, St. Luke's Hospital, financed by a $75 million philanthropy campaign, new debt and funds from operations. The plan includes a replacement for the heart center at St. Luke's; renovation of the heart-center building into a dedicated space for the hospital's brain and stroke institute; consolidation of women's services into a new center; and development and equipping of specialty intensive-care units for stroke and cardiac patients and premature infants. The project also will convert the hospital to all private rooms, add 200 parking spaces and double the amount of green space on the campus, St. Luke's said.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- OhioHealth won board approval last week to build a $130 million, 94-bed hospital in suburban Dublin, located in the state's fastest-growing county. Groundbreaking is slated for July 21, with completion scheduled for October 2007. Ohio does not have certificate-of-need review. The hospital will have the capacity to expand to 300 beds. Dublin, which is the corporate home of Cardinal Health and Wendy's International, does not currently have a hospital. OhioHealth operates seven hospitals.
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Menorah Medical Center said it will spend $45 million to add a 60-bed patient tower, an ambulatory surgery center, two medical office buildings and a parking garage to its campus over the next five years. The expansion will increase the square footage of buildings on the campus by 75%. The surgery center and medical office buildings will be the first phase of the project, with construction slated to begin this summer. Nashville-based HCA owns Menorah, which was part of the company's $1.13 billion acquisition of Health Midwest, Kansas City, Mo., in 2003.
TOPEKA, Kan. -- The state of Kansas last week established a health authority to put seven state healthcare programs, including those for low-income residents and state employees, under a single agency to aggregate their purchasing power. The Kansas Health Authority will become active July 1 and will begin overseeing the seven programs one year later. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius proposed a broader set of healthcare initiatives in November 2004. Some of those proposals have become law through other bills, including establishment of a prescription-drug buying program and a new Cost Containment Commission to work to streamline paperwork between hospitals, insurers and physicians.