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New Provident Hospital being planned

Cook County Health (CCH) has plans to build a new Provident Hospital on vacant land next to the existing Provident Hospital at 500 E. 51st Street across from Washington Park. The new facility will include expanded outpatient services and downsized inpatient facilities.

Currently, Provident Hospital has state authorization for 85 (79 medical/surgical and six ICU) beds. If approved by the state, the new facility will include a smaller replacement hospital with 42 medical/surgical beds and six ICU beds.

As well, there will be eight operating suites and 70 outpatient exam rooms for the provision of comprehensive outpatient primary and specialty care, laboratory, diagnostic, dental, behavioral health and pharmacy services.

A comprehensive emergency department with 18 bays is also planned.

CCH expects that the new facility will reduce the number of Provident patients having to travel to the Stroger campus for services not currently provided on the Provident campus.

The new eight-story facility will cost approximately $240M. The debt service on the new facility will be paid for by the health system through patient revenues not local tax dollars.

It will be the fourth site for Provident Hospital.

Provident was founded as Chicago’s first Black hospital at 29th and Dearborn in 1891. The facility initially trained Black nurses after Emma Reynolds was denied admission into nursing schools in Chicago because of the color of her skin. She and her brother persuaded Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, a prominent doctor, to create a nursing school and hospital for Black doctors who weren’t allowed to work in white hospitals.

In 1893, Williams gained national attention when he performed what many believe was the first open heart surgery. That same year, Reynolds graduated and became the first Black woman admitted to the Medical College of Chicago at Northwestern, where she received her medical degree in 1895 and practiced medicine in various cities.

The hospital moved to its present site in 1933. Cook County took over the hospital after Provident filed bankruptcy in 1987. The current hospital reopened in 1993.

“Provident Hospital has served as a beacon of hope since it first opened in 1891 as an African-American hospital. Its contributions to modern medicine should not be forgotten. The nation’s first open heart surgery was performed at Provident by Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, a prominent African-American physician, and Provident was home to the first nursing school for Black women in Chicago.

“And while Cook County did not own the facility back then, it is our responsibility to carry its legacy forward. The construction of a new facility represents a true and lasting commitment to the patients we serve and our greater community,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “It is not just about replacing outdated facilities, but about the promise this project brings to people in Cook County who are in need of expert health care.”

“With this project we are coming closer to realizing our future as a modern, integrated person-centered health system, providing expert care while fulfilling our historical mission to care for all,” said Dr. Jay Shannon, CEO, CCH. “Our patients deserve no less.”

In 2018, Provident Hospital provided more than $20M in charity care, a number that has been on the rise for the last several years despite declining local taxpayer support. CCH continues to generate more than 95 percent of its operating revenues.

CCH’s strategic plan, IMPACT 2020, laid out two critical strategies – the long overdue need to update, upgrade and even rebuild facilities to ensure that CCH is providing state-of-the-art care to its patients, and the need to attract new, insured patients to ensure CCH can remain true to its historic mission.

To that end, CCH recently opened a new outpatient facility on its central campus as well as a new community health center in Arlington Heights. Later this year, new community health centers will open in North Riverside and Blue Island. CCH recently broke ground on a new facility in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood expected to open in late 2020.

In addition to the expansion of high-quality inpatient and outpatient services, the new Provident facility is expected to maintain 450 full-time jobs and add as many as 90 new jobs when it is fully operational.

Provident has served as an anchor in Chicago’s South Side community since it first opened its doors as a privately-owned community hospital in 1891. The private owners closed the facility in 1987. In 1991, Cook County purchased the hospital and reopened it in 1993 as a public hospital serving the community.

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