Mercyhealth gets OK to close 70 surgical beds in Illinois

Mercyhealth received approval from the Illinois Health Facilities & Review Board to close 70 surgical beds at Javon Bea Hospital-Rockton in Rockford, Ill., the Rockford Register Star reported March 15.

The plan passed on a 6-0 vote from the board. 

Closing 70 surgical beds is part of Mercyhealth's plan to turn the hospital into an outpatient facility, the Star reported. Inpatient services would be consolidated at Javon Bea Hospital-Riverside, also in Rockford. 

"It is safer and better patient care for Mercyhealth to consolidate its inpatients at the newer Riverside building site where there is a wide array of specialty physicians and technical capabilities," Mercyhealth President and CEO Javon Bea told the Star.

The plan has faced opposition. The Winnebago County Board passed a resolution Feb. 10 against Mercyhealth's plan to end inpatient care at the hospital. Several Illinois Health Facilities & Review Board members said they had reservations despite passing the motion to close the 70 surgical beds, according to the Star.

Rockford residents who live near the Rockton campus say it has fewer services than it used to after the $500 million Riverside hospital, which is farther away, opened in 2019. 

Mr. Bea told the Star that most patients admitted at the Rockton campus ended up being transferred to the Riverside hospital where there are more specialists and better equipment.

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