Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood could soon receive a new hospital.
University of Chicago Medicine proposed to build a $633 million cancer center in hopes of addressing health inequities on the South Side, while easing some of the medical center’s capacity constraints.
The additional 128 beds will be dedicated to cancer patients, health officials say, allowing UChicago Medicine to open additional beds for patients with complex or acute care needs in areas such as heart transplants. organs, digestive diseases, cardiology, orthopedics and trauma care.
As it stands, UChicago Medicine says 67% of cancer patients requiring hospital care have to leave the South Side, while about 56% of South Side patients leave the area for general health care.
Dr. Kunle Odunsi, director of the UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center, says the new center will be one of a kind.
“The need for cancer care within our community is very strong,” Odunsi told WTTW News. “It’s because our community … has faced many health inequities in the past. This center will provide complex care to residents of the South Side and beyond who do not normally have access to it.
According to Odunsi, cancer death rates on the South Side are almost double the national average, and cancer is the second leading cause of death among area residents.
Pending regulatory approval, construction of the new facility will begin in 2023 and open to patients in 2026. Community Support Letters for the new facility are now posted on the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board website along with the medical center’s request, including a letter from State Senator Robert Peters and another from the St. Bernard Community Hospital.
UChicago Medicine launches a community engagement effort with a virtual public meetingwhich was fixed by the examination committee for Tuesday, February 15 at 10 a.m.