“The administrative record contains over 9,000 pages of materials,” she wrote. “However, the (board's) decision contains no findings of fact, no adoption of the (state agency report), no indications as to which criteria and standards were met or were not met, no indication as to why the board must have disagreed with the (state agency report) and no conclusions by the board.”
In reaching her decision, Judge Petrungaro cited the appellate court decision, which ordered the facilities board to provide a “reasoned opinion” explaining why it approved construction of a $16.3 million nursing facility in Pecatonica, about 17 miles west of Rockford. The staff found that the project did not meet key state criteria.
The appellate court rejected two earlier appellate court cases that ruled that the facilities board need only provide a boilerplate explanation.
Frank Urso, general counsel for the facilities board, said it appears that Judge Petrungaro wants the board to address the staff report findings more definitively.
“We're trying to determine exactly what the court is looking for so we can respond appropriately,” he added.
Susan Milford, Centegra's senior vice president of strategy and development, downplayed the Judge Petrungaro's decision, saying it didn't conclude the case but was merely a request for additional information, which the Crystal Lake-based health system supports.
Centegra's plan was opposed by Elgin-based Sherman Hospital Health Systems, which was later acquired by Advocate Health Care, and by Advocate's Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington. Janesville, Wis.-based Mercy Health System, which put forward a rival, smaller plan for a hospital in Crystal Lake, also opposed Centegra's plan. Mercy sued the facilities board in Will County Circuit Court in August 2012, seeking to overturn the decision.
In September 2012, the board rejected Mercy's proposal to build a $115 million hospital in Crystal Lake.
Richard Gruber, a vice president at Mercy, praised Judge Petrungaro's decision, saying, “Transparency is a very important aspect of public review, and sometimes that needs to be enforced.”
Judge snarls Centegra hospital plan originally appeared on Crain's Chicago Business.