New Kishwaukee Community Hospital plans to offer expanded capabilities

By Jessica Kalin

The new Kishwaukee Community Hospital will keep more patients in house with expanded capabilities unavailable at the current facility.

Kishwaukee Health System President and CEO Kevin Poorten said the hospital transfers patients needing specialized care to more well-equipped hospitals in Rockford, Chicago or the Fox Valley area.

Some patients are transferred temporarily for testing at a facility across the street. Kishwaukee absorbs the transfer cost.

Kishwaukee patients who need an MRI have to be transported by ambulance to DeKalb MRI, 2475 W. Bethany Road. An ambulance ride across the street can cost Kishwaukee as much as $1,000.

The new Kishwaukee Hospital will include an inpatient dialysis center, an in-house MRI machine and a new cardiology unit.

Depending on the patient’s need for care, some are transferred on a long-term basis to other hospitals.

Poorten said cardiology patients are transferred because they don’t have a cardiology cath lab, so they can’t do certain studies on the heart.

Cardiac catheterization laboratories are necessary to perform stress and electroencephalogram tests and install balloons in the heart.

Kishwaukee, 9 Health Services Drive, also sends patients to other hospitals for open-heart surgery.

Joe Dant, vice president of business development, said 400 transfer patients a year come from the emergency department, and 330 patients are transferred to other hospitals after being admitted to Kishwaukee.

Patients who are transferred to Rockford or Chicago include upper-end cardiology patients, trauma patients and premature babies.

Dant said more transfers occur during the flu season between the months of November and March.

Poorten said most patients’ insurance covers the cost of transferring to another hospital.

Dant said an ambulance ride to Rockford or Chicago can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the care needed during transportation.

In recent years, Kishwaukee has transferred more patients to Fox Valley area hospitals such as Delnor Community Hospital in Geneva and Elgin hospitals.

“We don’t lose money for those who won’t come here, but we aren’t generating that revenue,” Poorten said.

Much growth can come from secondary markets like Genoa and Kingston, Poorten said. Kishwaukee’s goal is to attract patients who could just as easily seek care at Rockford or Elgin hospitals.

“We don’t want people to have to travel; we want to expand the breadth and depth of services and care,” Poorten said.

Dant said that adding a cardiac cath lab will enable Kishwaukee to aid cardiology patients by next summer.