Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - — Crain’s Chicago Busi­ness

— A pro­posal by Vista Health Sys­tem to build a $131 mil­lion hospi­tal in Lin­den­hurst, about 50 miles north of Chicago, would add more beds to an area that al­ready has a sub­stan­tial sur­plus, ac­cord­ing to a report by the staff of the state health­care plan­ning board. The plan by Waukegan, Ill.-based Vista to build a 132-bed fa­cil­ity 13 miles west of its ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties would in­crease the over­sup­ply of hospi­tal beds in Lake County, which al­ready has 86 more beds than needed, ac­cord­ing to a report by the staff of the Illi­nois Health Fa­cil­i­ties and Ser­vices Re­view Board. The project has al­ready met op­po­si­tion from ri­val hos­pi­tals and from some re­li­gious groups and not­for-prof­its that say Vista hasn’t ad­e­quately in­vested in its Waukegan hos­pi­tals. The board is ex­pected to take up Vista’s plan Feb. 5. Vista, a sub­sidiary of pub­licly traded Com­mu­nity Health Sys­tems, plans to soften the im­pact of the new fa­cil­ity by elim­i­nat­ing 108 beds from Waukegan, where it op­er­ates two hos­pi­tals. Vista Med­i­cal Cen­ter East, the acute-care hospi­tal, is li­censed for 336 beds, but no more than 200 of those beds are staffed. In a state­ment, Vista Health Sys­tem CEO Bar­bara Martin down­played the find­ings in the staff report, say­ing they “were very sim­i­lar to staff re­ports for hos­pi­tals that have been ap­proved by the re­view board.” Vista, which was ac­quired by Franklin, Tenn.-based Com­mu­nity in 2006, un­suc­cess­fully sought state ap­proval to build a hospi­tal in Lin­den­hurst five years ago. Now, hospi­tal ex­ec­u­tives say the need for the new hospi­tal is even stronger.

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