Mercyhealth moves inpatient services to Riverside campus, city leaders not happy

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 10:14 AM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Healthcare moves fast and Mercyhealth is keeping pace with its new patient services plan.

Mercyhealth is moving forward with its plans to move all inpatient medical and surgical services currently at its Rockton Avenue hospital to its Riverside campus by January 12, 2022. Transitions will be starting as soon as mid-December.

“Given the severe nursing and health care staffing shortages right now, it doesn’t make sense to continue down our current course. Realigning services across our one hospital license, located between two campuses allows us to provide a more robust outpatient facility at Rockton and expand our inpatient campus at Riverside. We will still be able to care for the same number of people, and no jobs will be lost as a result of these changes, which will allow us to better utilize our staff to best meet our patients’ needs,” says Javon Bea, President and CEO of Mercyhealth.

Mercyhealth says the move is necessary since emergency room visits at the west side campus are lower and patients nowadays are opting for more telemedicine visits. In addition, Mercyhealth officials say there are fewer surgeries going on as the COVID-19 pandemic goes on along with a continued nursing shortage.

Chief Medical Officer for Mercyhealth Dr. John Dorsey says, “We’ve got four emergency rooms right now in Rockford. We’ve got two level one trauma centers and one level two trauma center. For a city of this size, that’s rather unique and unusual.”

Concerns about the Rockton Avenue campus started years ago when Mercyhealth opened its Riverside campus. Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara has not been happy since Javon Bea became the President and CEO of Mercyhealth saying west side residents are seeing more cuts because of Bea.

McNamara tells 23 News in part, “Since Javon Bea has come to the city of Rockford, he has continually disrespected the residents of the west side and has systematically cut services to some of our residents who need those services the most. He’s done all of this to fit his agenda.”

The city of Rockford and McNamara also released the following statement regarding the change. You can see it in full below.


Posted by City of Rockford Government on Wednesday, November 24, 2021

With the new changes, leaders with Mercyhealth say rumors that the Rockton Avenue campus will close is simply untrue. Dorsey says, “I don’t want people to think this is a veiled attempt to close the campus. It’s not at all. It’s simply a minor change to accommodate the realities of healthcare and improved efficiencies.”

Between Dec. 15, 2021 and December 20, the Rockton Avenue Campus medical/surgical inpatient beds move to the Riverside location, replaced with a standby emergency department consisting of nurses on location and a physician on call.

Health leaders also tell 23 News that throughout the transition, there will be no job losses with anyone involved in the changes.

Mercyhealth also intends to grow its current MD-1 program that serves the Rockford area. The MD-1 program works with first responders to bring emergency room trained physicians, equipment and medications to the scene.

The following services will be available at the Rockton Avenue Campus:

· Outpatient surgeries

· Cancer services, including outpatient chemotherapy infusion treatment

· Endoscopy

· Gastroenterology

· Family medicine

· Laboratory

· Pain Center

· Radiology and imaging

· Pulmonology

· Cardiology

· Cardiac/pulmonology rehabilitation

· Endocrinology

· Neurology

· General pediatrics

· Prehospital and Emergency Services Center

· Internal medicine

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