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News: Hundreds show public support of hospital in southern McHenry County

Hundreds of area residents showed their support a public hearing Wednesday, Feb. 16 at Huntley Village Hall for the proposed Centegra Hospital – Huntley.   The village presidents of Huntley, Lake in the Hills and Lakewood were among the supporters, as were EMS officials from across McHenry County, who cited the current void of emergency care in southern McHenry County and northern Kane County.

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Residents and patients including a number of residents of Del Webb’s Sun City Huntley, also testified, stressing the need for comprehensive healthcare services close to home.

The hearing was a step forward in the state review process for Centegra Health System as it seeks to increase access to healthcare in southern McHenry County and northern Kane County. The proposed service area for Centegra Hospital – Huntley includes census tracts that have been designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as Medically Underserved Areas and Health Manpower Shortage Areas. The State of Illinois has also designated the area as having Medically Underserved Populations.

The proposed Centegra Hospital – Huntley, announced in December of last year, would serve communities where state statistics show the highest need for additional inpatient beds of any area in Illinois. It is also an area where with the highest rate of residents leaving the county for healthcare and the second highest utilization rates at its existing hospitals.”The turnout here today confirms that the residents of this area recognize the need for accessible healthcare for their families,”  said Centegra Chief Executive Officer Michael S. Eesley. “We requested a public hearing for our project to allow our many supporters the opportunity to learn more about our plans and to share their enthusiasm. We’re thrilled that so many residents, medical professionals and community leaders joined us in support today.” Much of the testimony throughout the day was from the Del Webb Sun City Huntley retirement community.

Del Webb resident Melvin Long said, “My wife and I have been residents of Sun City Huntley for more than six years.  We moved from the city of McHenry where we had lived for 13 years.  We most definitely support Centegra’s plans to build a new hospital and medical offices in Huntley, adjoining their already active Immediate Care Center that we have been visiting frequently, medical offices and the Health Bridge Fitness Center.” He added, “Consideration should be given especially to a relatively permanent population base of nearly 9,000 people at age-restricted Sun City Huntley, with most residents over the age of 60 requiring more frequent and often emergency medical care. Time is of the essence.”

Village of Huntley Chief of Police John Perkins said, “It is very exciting to consider the proposal for a full-service hospital in our village. In my opinion, northern Kane County and southern McHenry County are in urgent need of a hospital. Presently, local residents must travel to either Elgin or Woodstock to find a full-service hospital. A local hospital will improve the quality of service we can provide in many ways.” In addition to needed healthcare services, the project would deliver new jobs and revenue to McHenry County. It is estimated that more than 800 construction jobs will be created with this project, having a total economic impact of $152 million on area communities. An additional $45 million would be generated in professional salaries and medical equipment and furnishings. Centegra Health System expects to employ an additional 1,100 Associates due to the new hospital. ”As the largest healthcare provider in McHenry County, it is our responsibility to always look for ways to improve the care we provide to those who rely on us,”  Eesley said. “We are invested in this region and we are excited to play an active role in its growth in the years to come.” 