Centegra Health System moved one step closer to realizing its plan to bring an open heart surgery program to McHenry County this week with the filing of a Certificate of Need application to the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board. Copies of the application were sent to the planning board in Springfield where they will be reviewed by state agency staff before being sent to the planning board for final approval.
Centegra Health System has been building a quality heart care program for nearly twenty years. Over that time Centegra has introduced cardiac rehabilitation programs, cardiac catheterization procedures, and coronary angioplasty. Adding open heart surgery is the next step in providing quality heart care here in McHenry County. Currently all McHenry County residents must leave the county in order to have open heart surgery performed and with the Centegra program in place that will no longer be necessary.
“With guidance and support from physicians and staff, for a number of years Centegra has strategically worked to implement a cardiovascular services program of high clinical quality with the ultimate goal of expanding the program to offer the community the full continuum of cardiac care. That continuum includes the addition of a comprehensive open-heart surgery program,” Michael S. Eesley, Centegra President and CEO said. “Through 20 years of hard work, Centegra has revolutionized the heart care our patients receive and the addition of open heart surgery plays a key role in our vision for a healthier community.”
Community support for the project has been very strong. Over 300 letters of support were received for the project from groups and individuals through the county and included with the Certificate of Need application. Letters of support can still be sent directly to Jeffrey Mark at the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board in Springfield. When approved, the open heart surgery program will be housed at Centegra Northern Illinois Medical Center in McHenry.
According to Aaron Shepley, Senior Vice President and Site Administrator for Centegra Northern Illinois Medical Center, “Centegra is very excited about the addition of this much-needed program. We have worked carefully to implement a cardiovascular program following the guidelines established by the American College of Cardiology and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. And we have also followed state guidelines set by the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board to meet volume thresholds as we’ve developed our comprehensive approach to cardiac services.”
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for McHenry County residents according to statistics compiled by the McHenry County Department of Health. Bringing the benefits of open heart surgery to the community is consistent with the goals of Centegra Health System. “Putting the patient and community first is at the forefront of everything we do. The addition of an open heart program means our patients will have better access to cardiac care and most importantly, more lives will be saved by having a comprehensive heart program right here in our community,” noted Suzan Buchaklian, Executive Director of Cardiovascular Services at Centegra.
Centegra Health System traces its roots to the founding of the first hospital in Woodstock in 1914 and has been serving the needs of the greater McHenry County region for over 90 years. Centegra has hospitals in Woodstock and McHenry, Illinois and physician offices, clinics, and other programs at 30 locations throughout the region.