As Chicago's Cook County Health and Hospitals System works to shed its image as a provider of last resort, it's formally applied with state regulators to build an outpatient center with a sleek design that could cater to a wider array of patients.
The two-hospital Cook County Health, one of the largest public hospital networks in the nation, plans to replace Fantus Clinic. With narrow corridors and outdated infrastructure, the nearly 60-year-old outpatient facility is from a different era of medicine.
The proposed nine-story Central Campus Health Center would consolidate services and administrative offices now spread among Fantus and two other buildings on the Near West Side campus. Among the highlights of the $137.7 million proposal: expanding dental services, which are often hard for poor and uninsured patients to find, and offering a more modern space for cancer treatment.
"Everyone has a choice today," Doug Elwell, deputy CEO of finance and strategy at Cook County Health, said of patients. "We want to make sure we have the facilities that match our expertise."
Cook County Health revealed more details about its outpatient overhaul in a recent application to the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board. The state regulatory board decides the fate of health care projects to prevent duplicate services. Cook County hospital officials hope the board votes on the project in September.