State regulators are slated to vote today on University of Chicago Medicine's nearly $270 million expansion that includes an adult trauma center activists have long called for.
The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, which decides the fate of health care projects to prevent duplicating services, is expected to vote during its board meeting today in Downstate Normal.
U of C Medicine's bold plan, called GetCARE, is three-pronged approach to address gaps in care and expand growing services on its Hyde Park campus. The proposal calls for a Level I adult trauma center (the most specialized state designation) activists have fought years to re-open; relocating and expanding the often-packed adult emergency room; and transforming the aging Mitchell Hospital into a cancer center with nearly 200 more inpatient beds.
The nine-member state board will consider the project on the heels of a report from its staff last month that found U of C Medicine's proposal didn't meet certain state guidelines. The number of beds the academic medical center wants to add to its adult ER is too many, the construction tab for the project too high and the number of extra inpatient beds for overnight stays isn't needed, the staff report said.
The board isn't always swayed by its staffs' findings. In this case, data underscores that U of C Medicine, the biggest health system on the South Side, is chronically packed and expects that to continue for years to come.
For example, adult ER patients get so fed up waiting to see a doctor that they often leave before getting treated. Patient beds were 90 percent full in 2015.
In a special report last month, Crain's detailed what triggered U of C Medicine's decision to re-open the adult trauma center in area besieged by violence and health care disparities after resisting it for years.