Rush Oak Park Hospital President Dino Rumoro, with 29th Ward Alderman Chris Taliaferro and 78th district State Representative Camille Lilly, speaks at a press conference announcing construction of a new hybrid mini-hospital and cliniic at the site of the old Sears store at North and Harlem Avenues in Chicago on Monday March 20, 2023 | Todd A Bannor

Rush Oak Park Hospital, 610 S. Maple Ave., has described the new Rush University Health System at the former North and Harlem Sears store site in Chicago’s Galewood neighborhood as a way to expand services – something that, it says, it can’t do given that its current campus is at capacity.

The project, which was originally announced in December 2022, calls for a new 61,000 square foot outpatient facility which will offer primary and specialty services found in other Rush facilities. Rush will lease the space, with the landowner, developer Novak Construction, building a “shell” to the health system’s specifications and Rush finishing up the interiors.

At the time, it wasn’t clear what role Rush Oak Park will play in the new facility. But according to an application to the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, which must approve any new medical facilities, the major purpose of this facility is to provide expanded services Rush Oak Park simply doesn’t have room for. Aside from the state approval, the project needs to clear Chicago’s City Council, which must approve the changes to the site’s development plans.

The application lists Rush University Health System, Rush University Medical Center and Rush Oak Park Hospital as co-applicants – but the documents make it clear that Rush Oak Park is the lead, and the project would largely benefit it.

“Rush Oak Park Hospital is land locked and experiencing space constraints that are inhibiting it from meeting the significant demand for ambulatory care in the surrounding community,” the application states. “Rush Oak Park currently maintains a multi-specialty clinic and other standalone offices within the medical office building located on-campus. However, at this time all available space has been utilized and demand continues to grow.”

The application states that they are particularly interested in expanding “cardiovascular services, mammography, and neurology services.”

“Taking no action now will result in the existing facility being unable to accommodate the anticipated visit growth and needs of the Oak Park and surrounding communities,” it states, “It also will result in a notable gap in available care and would reflect poor healthcare planning.”

The next meeting of the state agency is scheduled for June 27, but the agenda was not available online as of June 5.

Join the discussion on social media!

Igor Studenkov is a winner of multiple Illinois Press Association awards for local government and business reporting. He has been contributing to Growing Community Media newspapers in 2012, then from 2015...