Mercy Health System: Census Data Shows Crystal Lake Hospital is Needed Now

Mar 11, 2011, 15:03 ET from Mercy Health System

Centegra plan must wait years until population grows

CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill., March 11, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to recent data released by the U.S. Census, increased residential growth in the most densely populated area in McHenry County demonstrates a significant need for a hospital to be built in Crystal Lake.

Meanwhile, a new hospital in Huntley would have to wait until the population there increases, census data confirms.

The 2010 figures released a few weeks ago show that four of the five most populous communities in the county – Crystal Lake, Algonquin, Lake in the Hills and Cary – escalated by a total of nearly 20,000 residents from 2000 for a combined total of nearly 125,000 people. A Crystal Lake Hospital would serve each of those communities, none of which currently has a hospital. The municipality with the fourth highest population in the county – McHenry – already has a hospital.

Mercy Health System has submitted a plan to state health officials to build a $200 million, 353-square-foot, state-of-the-art hospital in Crystal Lake, a project that would begin later this year.

According to Mercy Vice President Rich Gruber, building a hospital where the most people live only makes sense. Currently, the closest facilities for residents in those four areas are located in Woodstock, McHenry or Barrington.

"Families, women and seniors living in the most highly populated areas obviously have the greatest need and require the most care," Gruber said. "They deserve a centralized, accessible facility that provides quality healthcare. A new hospital in Crystal Lake would meet the growing demand that shows no signs of slowing down."

If its application wins approval, Mercy would break ground on a new hospital in Crystal Lake later this year. Meanwhile, a competing bid from Centegra Health System would require the population in the southwest section of the county to grow in order to create a need before building begins. Even if approved by state regulators this year, Centegra's planned facility in Huntley would not even open until 2016.

A Crystal Lake hospital would bring sorely needed jobs and spur economic growth beginning in 2011, Gruber added.

"Not only do people need quality healthcare options where they live now, but we also need to create jobs for McHenry County and spur economic development to strengthen the financial well being of the area and the families who live here," Gruber said.

One Lake in the Hills mother echoed the sentiments of many area families when she submitted comment to the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board in favor of a new hospital in Crystal Lake: "I have three kids and it would be great to have a hospital closer to where we live."

Gruber noted that the rapid population growth also impacts development, which effects traffic congestion and ultimately increases the time emergency responders take to travel between accident scenes and the nearest emergency centers. Building the hospital in Crystal Lake would significantly reduce travel time for EMS personal.

"In emergency situations, seconds count," Gruber said. "Patients who require medical care and have sustained serious injuries can ill afford to suffer further with long wait times and delays in receiving quality healthcare."

"It takes me 30 minutes or more to get to Woodstock or McHenry and it would be nice to have an ER closer with quality healthcare," said Donald of Crystal Lake who wrote in support of a new Crystal Lake hospital to state health officials.

CONTACT: Rich Gruber

Vice President/Mercy Health System

(815) 676-6550

SOURCE Mercy Health System