University of Chicago Medicine expects to pony up nearly $270 million to reopen an adult trauma center and expand services on its South Side campus.
The plan aims to fill a gap in programs the community has called for and boost access in other areas. The proposal calls for a Level I adult trauma center, relocating and expanding the chronically overcrowded adult emergency room and transforming the 33-year-old Mitchell Hospital into a facility that specializes in cancer care with 188 more inpatient beds.
More than 1,000 people would be hired to fill new jobs, akin to staffing a new community hospital.
The details of the proposal were disclosed in an application the academic medical center filed recently with the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board. The board decides the fate of healthcare projects to prevent duplication of services and must approve the plan.
U of C Medicine is a three-hospital system focused on research. It has long been a destination for the sickest patients who need top specialists, notably experts in cancer treatment. But the system is so full it turns away patients, some of whom have fewer places to go as hospitals in other South Side neighborhoods have closed.
Its tough stance in particular against reopening its long-closed trauma center for adults triggered years of protests. Adults who were shot or in horrific car accidents were taken to other centers miles away. The system does have a Level I pediatric trauma center.
In September, U of C Medicine answered activists’ pleas by announcing a partnership with Sinai Health System to build a center at its Holy Cross Hospital on the Southwest Side. But three months later, it dropped Sinai from its plans and decided to build the center on its own campus after all.
After all approvals, the new adult ER and trauma services would open about two years later, followed by the extensive renovations at Mitchell. The entire project is expected to be completed by 2022.