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Centegra Health hospital cuts medical-surgical, intensive care services amid financial struggles

Costs of opening its new 128-bed facility, write-offs for unpaid patient bills, and rising Medicare and Medicaid patient volumes blamed for losses.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

Centegra Hospital-Woodstock (via Centegra)Centegra Hospital-Woodstock (via Centegra)

Illinois' Centegra Hospital-Woodstock has filed for a certificate of exemption to discontinue medical-surgical and intensive care services, the system announced through their website.

The services had been suspended Aug. 12 and a notice was filed with the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, in accordance with state requirements.

The hospital will still offer emergency room care and mental health crisis stabilization services to patients who walk in or arrive via ambulance, however, those needing an overnight stay or surgery will be transferred to another hospital. The hospital also will continue to provide inpatient behavioral health services and outpatient medical imaging and laboratory services, the system said.

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"We will continue to provide the care our community members need on a day-to-day basis, including services like behavioral health, which has been identified as a significant need in this region and is only provided on an inpatient basis by Centegra Health System," said Michael S. Eesley, chief executive officer of Centegra Health System. "Our long-standing position in this community has given us a deep understanding of the most pressing needs, and we have plans to meet them with excellent services in Woodstock."

The ceasing of certain services, however, will give way to an influx of others. The system said they plan to relocate inpatient physical rehabilitation from their McHenry hospital to Centegra Hospital-Woodstock, and upon the unit's scheduled 2018 opening, it will offer private rooms to patients who are recovering from strokes, traumatic brain injuries, amputations, spinal cord injuries and orthopedic injuries, the system said. Outpatient behavioral health services will also relocate to Centegra Hospital-Woodstock.

"This move, combined with Centegra Hospital-Woodstock's enhanced Psychiatric Emergency Services department, centralizes behavioral health support, meeting a significant need in the community," Centegra said.

According to a report by the Chicago Tribune, the changes follow financial challenges and involve some impact on employees. Citing a system spokesperson, the report said 458 employees' jobs have been affected. Most were relocated within the system, but roughly six full-time equivalent positions were eliminated and 10 employees lost their jobs.

The system posted a $30.1 million operating loss for the nine months that ended March 31, which spilled over the projected loss of $10.2 million. Costs of opening its new 128-bed Centegra Hospital-Huntley, unexpectedly high write-offs for unpaid patient bills, and rising Medicare and Medicaid patient volumes were blamed for the losses.

Twitter: @BethJSanborn
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