Firefighters. Students. Moms. Professionals. Officials.
The list of people testifying at an Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board public hearing last year on Centegra Health System's plan for a Huntley hospital was long.
Huntley Fire Chief James Saletta was one of the people who testified in favor of the hospital. At the time, he said having a hospital close by was a matter of life or death for some patients.
It was good news for the Huntley Fire Protection District to learn the IHFSRB approved the $233 million, 128-bed hospital on Haligus and Reed roads.
“We are excited because the biggest thing is our transport times will be cut in half,” Deputy Chief Ken Caudle said.
Currently, the transportation time is 20 minutes to either Sherman Hospital in Elgin or Centegra Hospital-Woodstock, Caudle said. That time will be down to 10 minutes when Centegra’s Huntley hospital opens, he said.
“The sooner we can get to a hospital the better for the patients,” Caudle said. “Our turnaround (will be) almost instantaneous,” whereas it takes about a half hour to get an ambulance back from Elgin or Woodstock now, he said.
Saletta and other firefighters were among the thousands who voiced their support.
The project has seen widespread support from local residents, said Susan Milford, Centegra Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning. More than 16,000 community members submitted letters to the state expressing their support for the project, officials said.
“We are just very thrilled to be brining this to our community and we are grateful for the many community members who supported the hospital over this long process,” Milford said.
“We had many people who stepped up to write letters, put up yard signs and go to Bolingbrook to testify,” she said. “We really believe this is a community project. We are excited to give this to the community.”
Centegra launched a public relations campaign for a Huntley hospital featuring local residents in support of the plan. The campaign featured videos highlighting average people and officials _ including Huntley Mayor Charles Sass_ who told personal stories about experiences with Centegra.
Tuesday’s action “is a tribute to the thousands of local residents who voiced their support,” said Michael S. Eesley, Centegra Health System Chief Executive Officer.
“The enthusiasm we have seen for Centegra Hospital-Huntley is remarkable,” he said. “The community wants and needs this hospital, and we couldn’t be happier to deliver it. Centegra has been an integral part of the region for nearly a century, and we have no doubt that our future here will be even brighter than the past.”
The facility will be located on Centegra’s existing health and wellness campus at Reed and Haligus Roads. The campus currently includes an outpatient health center featuring Centegra Immediate Care and an advanced imaging center, physician offices and Centegra Health Bridge Fitness Center. In addition, the new Centegra Back and Spine Center just opened on that campus in May.