BELVIDERE — SwedishAmerican Health System will spend $3.6 million to reopen two operating rooms at its medical center in Belvidere.
Officials are still waiting on state permits for the project but hope the rooms can be open for outpatient procedures like orthopedic and gynecological surgeries by the first quarter of 2012. Construction is expected to start soon, just as the center celebrates its two-year anniversary this April.
The facility, which used to be Highland Hospital, is licensed for three operating rooms but SwedishAmerican will only use two for now, said Don Daniels, the health system’s vice president of clinic management and regional development.
Further investment in facilities east of Rockford, particularly Boone County, is key to capturing more market share as two major suburban Chicago health systems — Centegra and Mercy — are looking to build new hospitals in neighboring McHenry County. Rockford’s three hospitals all have some presence in Boone County, and SwedishAmerican and OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center have offices in Marengo.
SwedishAmerican Medical Center/Belvidere, 1625 S. State St., most recently functioned as a bariatric surgery center before SwedishAmerican bought it, so the rooms haven’t been used since early 2007. Renovations will bring the operating rooms up to code, Daniels said. SwedishAmerican opened the facility in April 2009.
The medical center offers physical therapy, lab, sleep disorder, imaging and 24-hour, seven-day-a-week emergency services. Digital mammography and infusion services — for outpatient needs like injections — were added in the first year.
The center saw about 10,500 visits to its emergency department and more than 15,000 visits for other services in the first year, exceeding officials’ initial projections.
“We’re continuing to see growth in existing service lines that are out there — emergency department traffic in particular is trending up,” Daniels said. “The operating rooms are the next phase for us in terms of adding services.”
Daniels said he isn’t sure now where a third operating room would fit at the medical center. In addition to the two operating rooms, space needs to be made for support areas like locker rooms, utility areas and sterile processing.
Reach staff writer Melissa Westphal at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-987-1341.