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Growth Drives SBL Expansion

September 16, 2021 7:49 a.m.

  • CCU expansion, SBL

Sarah Bush Lincoln has plans to expand its Critical Care Unit (CCU) and the adjacent Step-down Unit to add 20 new beds in total. A “step-down unit” is where patients receive care when they are not ill enough to be in the CCU, but they are not well enough to be on a traditional medical-surgical unit.

SBL will request that the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board (IHFSRB) offer a Certificate of Need permit to renovate 21,500-square-feet of space on the north side of the Health Center and to build 37,389 square feet of new construction. Along with the expansion of the CCU and Step-down Unit, the project provides space on the ground floor to enlarge the Lumpkin Education Center to include a Multidisciplinary Training Center to be used by Lake Land College, Eastern Illinois University and the SBL Health Occupations program. Materials Management will benefit from an expanded storage room, as well, since the current inventory room has remained essentially the same size since the Health Center opened in 1977.

The 58,000-square-foot and $30 million project will take about 18 months to complete. Upon approval by the IHFSRB, construction can begin in early 2022.

“This is an exciting time for Sarah Bush Lincoln as more people choose us for their care. We want to ensure that we have the necessary space to accommodate the medical needs of the community,” Kim Uphoff, SBL vice president of operations, said. “We are humbled and honored to care for them.”

Over the last four years, SBL has experienced an increase in inpatient and observation days from 28,719 to 34,968 annually. The Health Center experiences peak census in CCU and on the Medical/Surgical units often, which means those areas can only accommodate one or two additional patients during peaks.

Uphoff explained that the drastic increase in patient days is partially tied to the recruitment of Intensivist and Pulmonologist Jeremy Topin, MD. “Dr. Topin’s daily presence in the Health Center has significantly increased our ability to care for patients in CCU, rather than transferring them to other facilities. His experience, combined with his expertise, came at a crucial time for the community as COVID-19 was on the rise locally. Yet, despite the lower incidence of COVID-19 in the Health Center today, Dr. Topin is extremely busy caring for hospitalized people who have other respiratory issues and serious illnesses.”

The expansion project will increase the CCU capacity by 55 percent from nine rooms to 14 private rooms, which will be larger and of contemporary design to accommodate medical equipment, staff and family. Another 15 private rooms, adjacent to CCU, will be used for Step-down Unit patients. The rooms on 2 East will be a designated Observation Unit.

Uphoff explained that when the Health Center is at peak census, patients in the Emergency Department are often held longer than expected while they wait for vacant rooms. Likewise, elective surgeries that require inpatient stays are sometimes postponed. “It’s not an ideal situation for our patients,” she added.

The project calls for all training rooms on the Health Center campus to relocate to the Lumpkin Education Center. “Our educational partners and employees are excited about the expansion of the Center. Rooms are often unavailable for large trainings and, many times, employees and students move between simulation rooms on the fourth floor to computer training labs in Prairie Pavilion 2. It makes sense to accommodate all of our learning in one area,” she explained.

The exterior of the addition will be finished in brick and glass to blend the front of the building and other buildings on campus with the new expansion. No parking spaces will be lost in the expansion.

In 2018, Sarah Bush Lincoln added 21 private rooms on 2 South, just above The Heart Center, to care primarily for people with cardiovascular and pulmonary illnesses.

For more information, contact SBL Planning Director Marsha Haldorsen at 217 258-4169.