HYDE PARK — The Illinois Health Facilities Review Board has reversed a July decision and approved a University of Chicago proposal to move beds into the new Center for Care and Discovery.
The $123 million plan will add 43 hospital beds to the Center for Care and Discovery and move 154 beds to free up space in Mitchell Hospital, which will be converted to offices.
The board, which regulates hospital capacity in the state, reversed its July 15 decision on Wednesday and approved the move.
The board denied the request in July based on recommendations from its staff, which said the university was not fully utilizing its current hospital beds and the new larger rooms were well above the maximum size the state allows.
In a July 25 letter appealing to the board to change its decision, hospital President Sharon O’Keefe argued that the hospital’s emergency room wouldn’t get overcrowded and have to direct ambulances to go to another hospital if it got the new beds.
O’Keefe said in the letter the hospital was three times as likely to go on diversion if its beds were occupied at the rate required by the state.
She said in the letter that the rooms were larger because they have a shower in the bathroom and a small alcove for nurses to work on charts in the room.
She did not address the state staff claims that the features made the rooms too large and thus the hospital was building far fewer beds than the space could accommodate.
The plan also got new support from Chicago Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago.
It is unclear what swayed the board. A spokeswoman for the board was unavailable to comment.
One board member who was absent in July but was at the August meeting could have tipped the scales. The plan failed by one vote in July.
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