Centegra Health System plans to greatly reduce the number of services it offers at Centegra Hospital-Woodstock, suspending most inpatient care and leaving the hospital with a “basic” emergency department.
By Aug. 14, the 106-bed hospital at 3701 Doty Road will stop performing surgeries and admitting patients into its intensive care unit, medical-surgical unit and telemetry, the health system announced last week.
Centegra Hospital-Woodstock’s comprehensive emergency room “will become a basic emergency department and all patients who need inpatient care or surgery will be transferred to Centegra Hospital-McHenry or Centegra Hospital-Huntley,” Centegra CEO Michael Eesley wrote in a memo sent to employees June 21.
In the memo, Eesley said the plan is a response to “changing reimbursements, increasing bad debt and today’s uncertain health care climate.”
“After careful consideration, we have made the decision to shift all acute inpatient care to Centegra Hospital-McHenry and Centegra Hospital-Huntley,” Eesley wrote.
Other services will remain or be relocated to Woodstock, according to the memo. The Woodstock hospital will continue to provide inpatient behavioral health services, and outpatient behavioral health will move from the South Street facility to Centegra Hospital-Woodstock. Inpatient rehabilitation and neuro-rehabilitation will be relocated to Woodstock.
The hospital is one of the largest employers in the city, with about 600 employees. Eesley said “probably fewer than 100” people will lose their jobs as a result of the changes.
The Centegra Health System Board has approved the plan. The changes will need the support of the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board if they are to become permanent.
Centegra’s announcement that it would suspend services in Woodstock came a day after the state health facilities board approved a request from competing health care network Mercyhealth to build a small hospital in Crystal Lake. The 13-bed facility planned for the corner of Route 31 and Three Oaks Road will have a comprehensive emergency room and operating rooms.
Eesley said Centegra’s plans for its Woodstock hospital were unrelated to Mercyhealth’s expansion or to the construction of Centegra Hospital-Huntley, a 128-bed facility that opened in August 2016.
“The Woodstock market just hasn’t grown the way we thought it would grow to substantiate the Woodstock hospital,” Eesley said. He added high numbers of Medicare and Medicaid patients had strained the health system’s finances.
Earlier this month, Crain’s Chicago Business reported Centegra lost more than $30 million over the first three quarters of its current fiscal year, which ends June 30. A planned merger with Northwestern Medicine also has been delayed. Eesley said that deal is due to be completed within the next few months.
Eesley said the changes in Woodstock will save Centegra money and improve the way it delivers care to patients.
“[The $30 million loss] was a good indication that we were going to have to do something,” he said.