Northwest Business Magazine

Area Health Systems Build for the Future


Several projects are underway at our region’s hospitals, with large investments fueling new buildings and renovations at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, SwedishAmerican Hospital, Mercyhealth hospitals and Beloit Memorial Hospital. Check in with the CEOs of these medical centers to find out how these projects bolster our regional economy and health care options.

reveals its plans to invest $130 million to construct a new women’s and children’s tower and make additional renovations to its Midtown Rockford campus.

SwedishAmerican reveals its plans to invest $130 million to construct a new women’s and children’s tower and make additional renovations to its Midtown Rockford campus.

When it comes to health care, modernization is key. For many reasons, keeping hospital facilities updated is a major benefit to the community and represents a competitive edge in the health care market.

We’re lucky to live in a region where our hospitals prioritize modernization through continuous investments. OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center and SwedishAmerican Hospital are undergoing renovations that will add more private rooms. Mercyhealth is building a new hospital campus in the northeast corner of Rockford and investing in its west-side hospital. And, just across the state line, Beloit Memorial Hospital recently opened the new Hendricks Family Heart Hospital.

Looking at these new projects, one thing is certain: you don’t need to leave the region to find quality health care.

This aerial view rendering of SwedishAmerican Hospital shows what the East State Street campus will look like in about 4.5 years, after anticipated renovations are complete.

This aerial view rendering of SwedishAmerican Hospital shows what the East State Street campus will look like in about 4.5 years, after anticipated renovations are complete.

SwedishAmerican, a Division of UW Health

Earlier this year, SwedishAmerican announced a plan to invest $130 million to construct a new women’s and children’s tower and make significant additional renovations to its Midtown Rockford campus.

Since 2001, SwedishAmerican has invested more than $630 million in its campus.

“The three main resources I see for health systems are its people, it technology and the buildings,” says Dr. Michael Born, president and CEO of SwedishAmerican. “It’s critically important to have good people, to keep up with the technology and equipment we use, and to have modernized facilities. A need for modernization has prompted our facility plans.”

To keep its facilities modernized, SwedishAmerican is renovating its main facility to have all private rooms – a feature Born says will lead to an enhanced patient and family experience, as well as increased patient safety. Other renovations include an expanded emergency department, an additional 10 pediatric/adolescent psychiatric beds, and additions to the surgery and catheterization lab areas of the hospital.

“Our emergency department was last renovated in 2001 and was intended to serve 45,000 patients a year,” Born says. “Currently, we’re seeing 75,000 patients a year in that space. So, by simply renovating and expanding that space, it benefits the patients, the families and the providers who are working in that space. They have the elbow room to deliver the care that they need to deliver.”

With these renovations comes an additional four-story building to serve women and children on the main campus. Features of this building include expanded pediatric subspecialty services and a Level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) – the highest-rated level of care for newborns.

The renovation plan also includes inpatient pediatric behavioral health beds, a service that hasn’t been available in northern Illinois for the past 15 years. Born says SwedishAmerican has many behavioral health patients who show up in the emergency department, where they’re stabilized and either admitted or discharged with a follow-up plan. An increase in behavioral health patients suggests there’s a need for expanded inpatient care for behavioral health, especially in the pediatric/adolescent age group.

“I go back to the mission of SwedishAmerican, and our mission is to care for the community,” Born says. “So, if there are needs for pediatric behavioral health, specialized pediatric care, and a Level III NICU, how can we provide that? If that means a new building, then that’s part of the plan. Especially since, given our location in the central city, we oftentimes serve the most vulnerable members of our community. So, this plan emerges from our mission.”

Born estimates the new building will be completed in about two years, while the hospital renovations will be completed in about four to 4.5 years.

Throughout these years of construction, normal health care operations must be maintained. That’s why expanding an existing campus involves a highly skilled project management team.

“To expand and renovate an emergency department – it’s not like baseball season, where you do it during the off-season,” Born says. “We still need to run 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Maintaining seamless care throughout the construction period so that there’s the least amount of interruption is an ongoing process from start to finish.”

Born estimates these projects will create about 600 union labor jobs during the construction phase and an increased amount of permanent clinical jobs once the projects are complete.

Renovation designs will also take telemedicine into account, or the use of technology to provide health care from a distance.

“There’s an expanding need for telemedicine,” Born says. “This allows providers to remotely participate in a patient’s care.”

Remote access is especially relevant since SwedishAmerican became a division of UW Health on Jan. 1, 2015. Since the completion of this merger, SwedishAmerican’s physician group has grown. Last year, 67 UW physicians traveled to Rockford to serve patients. This year, about 85 UW physicians are serving the Rockford area.

Earlier this year, SwedishAmerican also partnered with Aunt Martha’s Health & Wellness, a system of clinics that provides care and prevention services for children, teens and families. Aunt Martha’s opened its on-site health center at SwedishAmerican on Aug. 1. The clinic currently offers integrated mental health services, primary care services and women’s health services.

“We’re very excited about our recent relationship with Aunt Martha’s, a federally qualified health clinic,” Born says. “In addition, we plan to build two larger multi-specialty clinics in the northeast and northwest regions of Rockford. We also recently broke ground on our new clinic site at 815 Marchesano Drive, in southwest Rockford. So, in addition to what’s going on at our hospital campus, we think these other initiatives are complementary and provide needed and convenient points of access to health care for a broad segment of the population that we serve.”

SwedishAmerican plans to appear before the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board in January, as it seeks regulators’ approval for the new women’s and children’s tower, as well as additional campus renovations.

OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center is investing $85 million to expand its current facility. The campus is also configuring many semi-private rooms into private rooms. Construction is currently in progress.

OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center is investing $85 million to expand its current facility. The campus is also configuring many semi-private rooms into private rooms. Construction is currently in progress.

OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center

When OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center was constructed in the 1960s, it was predominantly built with semi-private rooms.

Today, the hospital is modernizing its campus by configuring many of these spaces into completely private rooms.

“We want to enhance both the patient experience and the family’s experience while they’re here,” says Paula Carynski, president and CEO of OSF Saint Anthony. “Most hospitals in the country are migrating toward a private room configuration for an enhanced patient experience. Typically, when a patient is very ill, they want to spend that time either with family or in private, and when you have a roommate, you can’t always honor that. So, from that perspective, it’s really convenient to be moving toward enhanced privacy.”

The private rooms have three main zones: a caregiver zone, a patient zone and a family zone. This configuration allows family members to spend the night, if they choose, on a pullout bed. These accommodations currently aren’t offered in semi-private rooms.

It was important to Carynski to get patient feedback when designing these private rooms. In January, a mock patient room was built to serve as a prototype for what a private room would look like.

“We ran simulations and scenarios – what an emergency situation would be, what it would be like if you were in a wheelchair – and then we brought in prior patients and asked their feedback,” Carynski says. “We learned what worked well in the room and what didn’t, and then we made design modifications to adjust. I’m so glad we did that because our final product will reflect that feedback.”

OSF Saint Anthony is also investing $85 million to expand its current facility. In 2018, the hospital will open a new 144,247 square-foot, four-story pavilion. This North Tower will have three floors of private rooms and one floor of amenities, including a rejuvenated women’s health center, a kitchen demonstration area, expanded pharmacy services and PromptCare.

There will be 78 private rooms in the North Tower and a total of 190 private rooms across the entire campus. The entire first floor of the new pavilion is dedicated toward new amenities.

“The women’s health center was designed to have a spa feel,” Carynski says. “Women can get their complete assessment, with mammograms, bone densitometries, ultrasounds and more, but there will also be massage therapy services and some products for skin care. Men and employees can sign up for massage therapy, too.”

The kitchen area will host live demonstrations on how to cook healthy meals.

“We’re strong advocates of patient health and well-being,” Carynski says. “If you really struggle with weight management, this will be a great service.”

Expanded pharmacy services include a new med-to-bed program, allowing patients to get their prescriptions filled before they leave the hospital.

“This is a great safety feature that we’re offering, because oftentimes there’s a confusion about what medications to take and when,” Carynski says. “This way, we can teach patients about their medications before they leave. Family members of patients are also allowed to get those prescriptions filled, too. It’s convenient, and we’ll offer it as an additional level of patient safety.”

And finally, a new PromptCare will help assist patients who don’t have acute emergencies.

“If you have a sore throat, bumps, bruises, sprains – things that aren’t necessarily an emergency – you can step right into the PromptCare and get services right there,” Carynski says. “This will help keep emergency department operations running smoothly.”

OSF Saint Anthony is on time and on budget for completing these projects. Bishop David John Malloy will bless the new facility on April 13, and operations in the new facility will begin the following day.

During the construction phase, OSF Saint Anthony added about 700 union labor jobs. Over the past two years, the medical center has invested more than $120 million in various projects – $85 million in the new pavilion, $7 million toward enhancing the cancer center, $3 million toward an interventional room for stroke victims, and $6 million toward a primary care clinic on Parkview Avenue. The rest has gone toward infrastructure maintenance.

“OSF has responded to patient needs for 118 years and will continue to do so,” Carynski says. “I think our recent investments demonstrate that.”

Mercyhealth is constructing a new $505 million hospital and medical center campus on I-90 and Riverside Boulevard. The project is on track for completion in late 2018. Mercyhealth also plans to invest $50 million in its Rockton Avenue campus over the next 10 years.

Mercyhealth is constructing a new $505 million hospital and medical center campus on I-90 and Riverside Boulevard. The project is on track for completion in late 2018. Mercyhealth also plans to invest $50 million in its Rockton Avenue campus over the next 10 years.


Construction is moving along for Mercyhealth’s new $505 million hospital and medical center campus on I-90 and Riverside Boulevard.

“Bringing a project of this size to my hometown of Rockford is a dream come true for me personally,” says Javon R. Bea, president and CEO of Mercyhealth. “Mercyhealth is dedicated to making Rockford better. And as we continue to work on this massive project on Riverside, we are also continuing to improve the existing Mercyhealth Hospital-Rockton Avenue campus as well.”

Mercyhealth plans to have two full-service hospitals in Rockford, in addition to 14 clinics and medical centers in Boone, Ogle and Winnebago counties – several of which are either new or have recently been expanded and renovated.

The new hospital will provide emergency services to the community, as well as a convenient walk-in clinic. Mercyhealth will also continue to invest $50 million in the Rockton Avenue campus over the next 10 years.

“It’s important to us to contribute to the community in a huge way,” Bea says. “Mercyhealth has dedicated itself to contributing to the economy in Rockford and is a leading health system that is playing a significant role in the health and well-being of residents in the northern Illinois region.”

The new hospital is one of the largest construction projects in the history of Rockford. The campus will have 194 private inpatient rooms and extensive specialty services, including a level III NICU – the highest level of neonatal care – pediatric intensive care, high-risk perinatal care, adult inpatient care and intensive care, a level I trauma center – the highest level of emergency care, plus state-of-the-art operating suites and surgical services to support a full range of inpatient and outpatient surgery.

“We’re right on track with completion in late 2018,” Bea says. “Much of the new facility is now fully enclosed, and workers continue to make progress on shaping the future of health care in northern Illinois.”

The Rockton Avenue campus will continue to grow, as well.

“The Mercyhealth Hospital–Rockton Avenue campus has grown leaps and bounds over the past two years,” Bea says. “We remain committed to improving this facility, which, in turn, benefits the entire region. In one year, we have invested more than $10 million in the campus.”

Many services have been enhanced at the Rockton Avenue campus. There are several new adult and pediatric orthopedic surgeons who specialize in sports medicine, joint replacement, hand surgery and trauma surgery. Improvements have been made to a small baby unit, which offers a healing environment for babies weighing less than 2.2 pounds. The cancer center has a newly renovated infusion center, and the pre-hospital and emergency services center has a renovated 16,500 square-foot facility.

Between its new hospital and Rockton Avenue campus, Mercyhealth has been a catalyst for new local jobs and economic growth.

“Beyond expanding the breadth and depth of medical services available through more than 400 new permanent health care jobs, the new campus has also created more than 1,100 additional construction jobs,” Bea says. “We know this project specifically, and all that we bring to the Rockford region, contribute to Rockford’s transformation to being a health care hub for the region. All of what we do is truly an economic driver in making Rockford a health care leader.”

Outside of its hospital projects, Mercyhealth has also been serving patients through new community partnerships and collaborations.

In early 2016, the health care system teamed up with Crusader Community Health, a community-based health care organization that serves people in need in the Rock River Valley area. Now, all pregnant women who seek care at Crusader have their babies at Mercyhealth Hospital-Rockton Avenue, Bea says. If needed, women also have access to the advanced maternal care at the regional perinatal center.

Earlier this year, Mercyhealth partnered with Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, one of the top children’s hospitals in the country.

“While Mercyhealth already has extensive pediatric subspecialty care right in Rockford, the partnership will give children who have complex and rare conditions access to advanced outpatient and inpatient services,” Bea says. “This includes pediatric cardiovascular surgery, pediatric plastic surgery, pediatric urology, pediatric hematology/oncology, and 24/7 consultative and telemedicine coverage for pediatric neurocritical care, infectious disease and pediatric emergency medicine.”

In September 2016, Mercyhealth Cherry Valley opened. The more than $3.5 million facility offers family medicine, sports medicine, and lab and X-ray services.

Mercyhealth opened the facility to better meet the needs of the residents of Cherry Valley and the southeast quadrant of Rockford, Bea says.

In addition, Mercyhealth spent $8.5 million to renovate and expand Mercyhealth Roscoe. In addition to internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, urgent care, and lab and X-ray services, the location now offers physical therapy, podiatry, mammography, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound diagnostic services.

Mercyhealth is building a new, 20,000 square-foot facility – Mercyhealth Alpine, at 7802 N. Alpine Road in Loves Park. The medical center will offer internal medicine, pediatrics, adult rheumatology, lab and X-ray services. It will also be home to a new family medicine residency program that will train primary care physicians, Bea says.

In addition, Mercyhealth is building a new, 24,000 square-foot facility, Mercyhealth Mulford, at 5970 Churchview Drive in Rockford. The medical center will offer internal medicine, lab and X-ray services. It will also be home to a new internal medicine residency program that will train primary care physicians.

Mercyhealth also spent $1.9 million to give Mercyhealth Perryville a much-needed facelift and to upgrade technology.

“We’re continuing the legacy that both Rockford Health System and Mercy Health System began 133 years ago,” Bea adds. “We truly are passionate about finding the best possible ways to improve the health and well-being of our communities.”

The completed Hendricks Family Heart Hospital encompasses the fourth floor of Beloit Memorial Hospital. The $13.8 million investment enhances regional cardiac services.

The completed Hendricks Family Heart Hospital encompasses the fourth floor of Beloit Memorial Hospital. The $13.8 million investment enhances regional cardiac services.

Beloit Memorial Hospital

Residents of our region don’t need to venture far to find quality heart health care. This past June, Beloit Memorial Hospital finished construction on the new 38,200 square-foot Hendricks Family Heart Hospital.

The $13.8 million investment encompasses the entire fourth floor of Beloit Memorial Hospital and includes a hybrid operating room (OR), cardiac catheterization labs, a Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and space for vascular service and cardiac rehabilitation. It also contains the Packard Family Cardiac Clinic, with 10 patient examination rooms and a stress lab.

“We built the Hendricks Family Heart Hospital in response to a demand for cardiac services in the community,” says Tim McKevett, president and CEO of Beloit Health System. “Made possible by the generous support of the Hendricks Family, the Packard Family and many private and community donors, the Hendricks Family Heart Hospital expands service availability and adds much-needed space to meet the continued growth of the heart and vascular service programs at Beloit Health System.”

Upon entering the fourth floor, visitors are greeted by a beautiful sculpture depicting the importance of family, McKevett adds. Directly behind the sculpture is a glass photo wall featuring photos from the staff, patient families and physicians.

“The Hendricks Family Heart Hospital atmosphere is truly unique,” McKevett says. “When designing it, we not only focused on creating an atmosphere that would be calming and spacious, but also convenient for our patients and their families.”

The new operating room (OR) is more than double the size of a standard operating room, enabling physicians to convert from a minimally invasive procedure to an open-chest or open-heart surgery without having to change rooms, McKevett adds. The spacious vicinity also enables physicians to conduct advanced heart valve repair or replacement.

In addition, the new OR facility expands Beloit Health System’s vascular program. Patients can now receive the benefits of advanced vascular surgery including endovascular, thoracic and abdominal aneurysm repair.

The Heart Hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) keeps all heart and complex interventional patients on the same floor and in close proximity to their physicians and specially trained nursing staff, McKevett says. An added bonus: patients in the ICU have private bathrooms and the opportunity to shower with the use of a shower chair, if possible.

“We are proud to provide the latest in cardiac care to our families, neighbors and friends,” McKevett says. “The heart and vascular program at Beloit Memorial Hospital had always been very strong, and demand for services in our community was growing. From the very beginning, our physicians, board members and administrators had a vision for providing comprehensive, convenient heart care for the residents of Beloit. It was their vision, commitment to their patients and the generosity of our donors that made the Heart Hospital possible.”

The Heart Hospital is staffed by cardiothoracic surgeons, interventional cardiologists, medical cardiologists, a vascular surgeon and more than 150 employees and support staff. The staff of health professionals includes cardiac surgeons Dr. Peter Marks and Dr. Hilton Hudson II; interventional cardiologists Dr. Leo Egbujiobi, Dr. Haroon Chughtai and Dr. Jorge Montilla; and cardiologists Dr. Phoebe Ezidinma and Dr. Maria Taveras.

“Many of the heart and vascular services that patients had to travel out of town to receive can now be taken care of right here in Beloit,” McKevett says.

“Additionally, for those patients who previously received heart care at Beloit Memorial Hospital, the new Hendricks Family Heart Hospital brings all services onto one floor, making it more convenient than ever to see the heart doctor, receive diagnostic testing and treatments, all on one floor.”

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