EVERGREEN PARK, Ill.—
The board of directors of 294-bed Little Company of Mary Hospital voted to move forward with plans to build a new pavilion that will be the centerpiece of plan to modernize the campus just southwest of Chicago. The nine-story addition is designed to include 96 private patient rooms and a women’s health center to include labor and delivery suites. The Catholic hospital was established nearly 80 years ago, and the plan also calls for significant renovation of space in an existing pavilion and for the original X-shaped tower to be demolished, making room for green space at the entrance to the new women’s center. The project, which was approved in April by the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, is expected to cost between $150 million and $175 million, paid for with a mix of bonds, cash and gifts. Groundbreaking is expected in January 2010.
Less than four months after launching a health insurance plan for low-income residents during one of the worst recessions in decades, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle suspended enrollment in the program because demand was higher than expected. Since launching the BadgerCare Plus Core Plan on June 15, state officials have received more than 500 applications per day from low-income adults. Program organizers say the plan can afford to cover about 54,000 people, but 60,000 applications have already been received, prompting a decision to place anyone who applied after Oct. 9 on a waiting list. The program is open to adults who do not have dependent children living with them and who earn less than $21,660 for an individual or $29,139 for a couple. Participants cannot have had access to employer-subsidized insurance for at least 12 months prior. A news release from Doyle said demand for the program showed a clear need for healthcare reform at the federal level, adding that BadgerCare and similar programs in other states “are merely bridges to get us to national health reform.” Wisconsin is not the only state struggling to pay for Medicaid programs (Oct. 5, p. 6).
The board of directors at Little Company of Mary Hospital, Evergreen Park, Ill., voted in favor of expanding with a new pavilion expected to cost as much as $175 million.