The project is likely adding a layer of tension to the relationship between Dr. Levitin and the hospital, where she is on the medical staff. In an internal administrative proceeding, the 1995 graduate of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine is contesting a peer review, sources say.
Hospital bylaws typically govern the relationship between medical institutions and staff doctors, like Dr. Levitin, who are not employees. Those rules usually don't prohibit physicians from competing against the hospitals, said Steven Lewis, a director at Chicago-based accounting firm Ostrow Reisin Berk & Abrams Ltd., who advises physicians on financial matters but is not involved in this matter.
“I don't think there's any situation where (hospitals) are going to be thrilled with it,” he said.
Dr. Levitin said she saw an opportunity to open a lower-cost surgery center because she encountered patients who had put off simple procedures due to the high price.
“It would allow me to take care of the patients who would wait to the last minute to get surgery, and to pre-empt bigger health problems,” she said.
She declined to speak about the administrative proceeding with Northwest. She also is affiliated with five other hospitals in the Chicago area, including Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center on the Northwest Side and Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village, state records show.
Dr. Levitin is the sole owner of Chicago Surgical Clinic Ltd., which currently has an office in Wheeling. In support of her application, she includes correspondence from several nearby physicians indicating that they will continue referring patients to Chicago Surgical.
Nearly two dozen procedures, such as endoscopies, lap-band surgeries and biopsies, can be performed more cheaply at the new proposed facility than at Northwest, the application said.
Mr. Crowther's letter said Dr. Levitin is aiming for patients that the hospital has served “for years."
“This project negatively impacts our program and ability to serve our patients,” he said.
A hospital spokeswoman said the objection is “based on our experience and knowledge of the market, indicating a lack of community need for the proposed facility.”
Presence Health, which includes Resurrection Medical Center in Chicago, Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center and Holy Family Medical Center in Des Plaines, also object to Dr. Levitin's plan.
The doctor and two other surgeons with her practice accounted for more than 1,000 procedures done at the three hospitals in the last 18 months, according to a letter filed with the facilities board.
Chicago Surgical booked about $447,000 in operating profit on $2.3 million in revenue in 2011, the application said.
In 2014, the first full year after the facility would be completed, Chicago Surgical expects to more than triple its operating profit to $1.7 million and increase its revenue to $7.3 million.
The health facilities board is scheduled to consider the project during its Dec. 10 meeting.