By Guy Stephens
ROCKFORD — SwedishAmerican Hospital won approval Tuesday from a state agency for a multimillion-dollar expansion in Rockford that includes a new women and children’s facility.
The modernization and expansion of the main hospital features a four-story tower that will become the home of its neonatal intensive care unit.
Dr. Michael Born, president and CEO of SwedishAmerican, said the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board agreed that the plan for the aging hospital facility was needed.
“It’s important for us to be able to develop this expansion and modernization,” he said,“to provide a platform to deliver the world-class healthcare which we think the members of the community and surrounding communities deserve.”
Rival Mercyhealth argued against the expansion at the hearing of the Health Facilities and Services Review Board, saying it would take away from existing programs in Rockford, like theirs. Born said he was more concerned about presenting the best plan to serve the area’s residents.
“My focus is to look at what the community’s needs are,” he said, “and what SwedishAmerican, a division of UW Health, can provide, rather than to try to look at this through the lens of a competitor.”
Born said support from the rest of the community has been overwhelming, including from elected officials and other health systems. He said the board obviously agreed there was a need when it approved the plan without opposition.
Preliminary construction work is to begin soon, with the tower expected to open in 2020.