PCH makes plans for ‘future of health care’

Color 4 col page one hospital plans

Image courtesy Res Publica Group, Chicago

Artist’s rendering show Palos Community Hospital’s Orland Park South Campus, 15300 West Ave., view from the northwest. A public hearing by state regulators on the plans is scheduled today, at 10 a.m., at the Orland Park Civic Center.

 

Palos Community Hospital’s South Campus expansion plans, at least two years in the making, would build a $133 million outpatient medical campus with nearly 100 physician and dental offices.

It is incorrect to describe the expansion as a cancer center, hospital officials agreed in an interview, although the services would add radiation therapy to the infusion, or chemotherapy, already provided by Loyola University Medical Center staff at the existing Palos Primary Care Center, 15300 West Ave. in Orland Park.

Palos Community Hospital President Terrence Moisan, MD described the hospital’s south campus expansion project in a conversation with The Regional News on Tuesday, two days before state regulators will consider the hospital’s application for a state permit to build it at a public hearing today.

The hearing will be conducted at 10 a.m. by the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board (IHFSRB) at the Orland Park Civic Center, 14750 S. Ravinia Ave.

Palos Primary Care Center now handles 200,000 to 250,000 patient visits a year, Dr. Moisan noted. Add to that 65,000 cardiac, oncology and neuro-diagnostics and other visits, and the facility is expected to serve as many as 400,000 visits per year, he added. The proposed opening is December 2017.

A new four-story medical office building more than 100,000 sq. ft. along West Avenue would have connection to the two existing facilities of Palos Primary and Immediate Care.

Medical services would include behavioral health partial hospitalization and outpatient services, imaging services, including CT, X-ray, ultrasound and mammography.

Dr. Moisan said 85 percent of health care “today does not happen in hospitals,” hence the need for a full spectrum of outpatient, ambulatory medical services that the expanded campus would provide. “This is the future of health care,” he said, especially under the new federal health insurance regime mandated imposed by the Affordable Care Act, informally called Obamacare.

The Orland Park site was chosen because it is closer than is the hospital itself in Palos Heights to the geographic center of the 25 communities in Palos hospital’s service area, said Tim Brosnan, vice president, planning. He mentioned the populations of Homer Glen, Lemont and Orland Park itself as growing markets.

Neither Dr. Moisan nor Brosnan appeared receptive Tuesday to the suggestion made by leaders of the Save PHFC movement of members of Palos Health and Fitness Center that the South Campus expansion project be redrawn in such a way as to preserve the fitness center and prevent its closing on May 1 and demolition to make room for expanded parking to serve the outpatient medical center.

Brosnan disagreed the fitness center is being torn down for parking. He said it is bring torn down “to accommodate growth and development” in health-care delivery for years into the future.

Palos Health and Fitness Center is not mentioned in the narrative nor depicted on a diagram showing the site plans in the hospital’s permit application for a certificate of need for the project from the state.

The expansion project is a “culmination of focused long-term planning to meet the growing demand for health care services in the south suburbs,” a fact sheet for the expansion states.

Today, the South Campus employs more than 300 people. The new facility is expected to house 150 to 200 physicians. Project benefits include improved access to quality services, integrated care among physicians, bringing primary doctors together with specialists to manage ongoing treatments and chronic diseases; coordinated medical records and clinical services among providers and reduced wait times for appointments and diagnostic services.

Pulmonary rehab services that had been provided at Palos health and Fitness for people on oxygen, etc. are to be combined with cardiac rehab at the hospital until the new facility is opened, Moisan said.

The hospital’s breakdown of the $133.2 million costs of the project does not list demolition costs for the fitness center. The costs of site preparation for the project, however, are pegged at $7.478 million.

The project requires the state review board to grant a certificate of need approving it because its cost is an expenditure by a hospital that is greater than the state’s capital expenditure threshold of $13.5 million.

The hospital’s permit application was declared complete on Jan. 4, 11 days before the date of the notification letter to Palos Health & Fitness members that April 30 is its last day of operation.

The state board has tentatively scheduled March 29 to consider the application. Any person wanting to submit written comments on the project must submit them by March 9. The board will post its findings in a state board staff report online on March 15 at hfsrb.Illinois.gov.

The public may submit written responses for or against those findings until 9 a.m. March 21. For additional information on its procedures, the HFSRB states persons may call (217) 782-3516.

Letters making public comment about the hospital’s plans can be sent to the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board must be mailed to: Ms. Courtney Avery, Administrator, Illinois Department of Public Health, 525 West Jefferson 2nd Floor, Springfield, Illinois 62761

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