U. of C. in trauma care talks with South Side providers

By LINDSAY WELBERS
Staff Writer

The University of Chicago Medical Center president Sharon O’Keefe told a state review board that it is in talks with other area medical providers about the South Side’s trauma care needs.

At a Wednesday hearing of the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, O’Keefe was asked to comment on the issue of trauma care on the South Side.

“We are currently in discussions with actually all of the medical directors of trauma … centers, in Chicago and other facilities to both collaborate and look at what is the best possible way to organize trauma … care in Chicago to best meet the needs of the area,” O’Keefe said. “And those discussions are going on at this point in time. And we’ve done a thorough analysis of the impact on the University of Chicago Medicine of a trauma center on the adult side both from an operational perspective and from a bed demand and also where patients would be coming from in the region and they would most likely be.”

As of publication of this report, UCMC had not confirmed that it has undergone an impact study or begun discussions with other Chicago-area trauma care facilities.

The board voted 6-0 with three absentees to approve allowing UCMC to add beds to the newly constructed Center for Care and Discovery (CCD), and build a medical center in suburban Orland Park.

“We continually have discussions with other area health care providers about ways to improve the health of the South Side. Among the topics that have come up recently include the trauma care issue. As we typically do around our efforts to address community health needs, we will share any developments as they unfold,” said UCMC executive director of Strategic Communications, Lorna Wong.

-Audio snippet courtesy of The Trauma Care Coalition. (Hear entire passage below)

UCMC applied to the board in April for approval to add 43 patient rooms in unfinished space in CCD. The board initially denied permission on July 14 calling the project “excessive.”

The now-approved plan would relocate 154 hospital beds, 122 medical-surgical beds and 32 intensive care beds from Mitchell Hospital, 5841 S. Maryland Ave., to CCD, 5700 S. Maryland Ave.

UCMC said in a release the $123 million project would help “better treat critically ill patients from the South Side of Chicago and beyond.”

The newly constructed $700 million CCD opened in spring of 2013 but UCMC is pushing the limits of its capacity. Since adding 38 surgical beds in March UCMC is at 80 percent capacity 70 percent of the time, and its ICU is at 80 percent capacity 90 percent of the time.

It will meet the limits of what the state considers optimal for an efficiently run hospital within two years of the project’s estimated completion date.

Members of the Trauma Care Coalition, an umbrella group of advocates who want UCMC to build a Level 1 Adult Trauma Care Center on the South Side, traveled to the hearing in Normal, Ill., to speak against the project.

The Orland Park clinic would put a $67 million, 120,000 square foot facility that provides radiation oncology, diagnostic imaging, a retail pharmacy, women’s health, gastroenterology, cardiology and surgical consulting.
The board approved the Orland Park project 6-0 with three absentees.

Construction is expected to be complete by summer 2018.

Complete audio passage below: