“Copley has an inadequate number of operating rooms to accommodate its historic surgical caseload, and the shortage of operating rooms will continue to exist in the next few years, increasing slightly due to the projected population increase and the aging of the population,” the application argues.
The area has been among the fastest-growing regions in the state. Between 2000 and 2010, the city of Aurora grew by 38%, according to U.S. census data. The state's population rose just 3.3% over the same period.
Population growth is just one factor in when hospitals decide to expand. To capture those new patients, the hospital must make the case to surgeons that it is the best place to bring their patients. Updating facilities and equipment is a form of marketing to a key constituency, according to one expert.
Surgeons “want to be able to do the latest procedures on their patients and they don't want to be in an operating room where the equipment is archaic or obsolete,” said Doug Fenstermaker, a former health system CFO and executive vice president at Atlanta-based Warbird Consulting Partners. “It's an expensive proposition, but for surgeons in particular, you don't want to mess with the operating rooms.”
Aurora's growth in the 2000s vaulted it to No. 2 behind Chicago among Illinois' most populous cities. By 2010, it had 197,899 residents, compared with 142,990 a decade before, census data show.
The city, which was home to more than a third of Rush-Copley's surgical patients in 2013, is expected to grow to more than 209,000 by 2019, according to figures from the city's development office.