Northwestern Memorial Hospital is seeking approval from the state for a $77.6 million expansion on its Streeterville campus.
The 894-bed hospital is looking to add 49 new beds and construct a three-story building that would connect its Feinberg and Galter pavilions, according to an application filed with the Illinois Health Facilities & Services Review Board, which oversees healthcare projects in the state.
The project aims to help Northwestern Memorial meet the growing demand for healthcare services.
Too few inpatient and observation care beds have led the hospital to keep patients in the emergency department longer, the application says. The practice has caused the hospital to go on bypass, or stop accepting patients who arrive by ambulance. The lack of beds has also led the hospital to turn away patients coming from other facilities for specialty services.
Meanwhile, the growing ranks of people 65 and older, many of whom have at least one chronic condition, are expected to ratchet up demand for health care services, the application says, noting that more than 42 percent of medical/surgical patients at Northwestern are 65 and older.
Adding 24 ICU beds and 25 medical/surgical beds would help Northwestern expand programs like cardiac care, while the connector would allow for the safe transfer of patients in critical condition, according to the application.
Northwestern expects utilization, or "patient days," to increase in the near future. From 2018 to 2023, it projects ICU utilization will increase 4 percent to 30,733, and medical/surgical utilization will increase 10 percent to 178,759.
This would be Northwestern's fourth project in 20 years that aims to add medical/surgical capacity to keep up with patient demand. In 2007, as part of the new Prentice Women's Hospital, it added 13 such beds.
The project is expected to start in September and be completed by December 2022. The hospital reported net patient revenue of $1.9 billion in 2018.
The state board is scheduled to vote on the project at its June 30 meeting.
This article was originally published in Crain's Chicago Business.