Home Local Northwestern Medicine plans outpatient center in Bronzeville that would cost more than $100 million

Northwestern Medicine plans outpatient center in Bronzeville that would cost more than $100 million

by staff

Northwestern Medicine plans to spend more than $100 million to build a 120,000-square-foot outpatient care center in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood — after facing past criticism that it hasn’t done enough to serve patients on the South Side.

The proposal still needs to be approved by the state Health Facilities and Services Review Board. Pending that approval, construction could begin next summer, and the facility could open in the summer of 2025 on the 4800 block of South Cottage Grove Avenue.

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The facility would include an immediate care center, primary care, specialty care, pharmacy services, mammograms, lab tests, chemotherapy and programs to promote community health. The center is expected to serve more than 50,000 people a year.

“This new advanced outpatient care center will provide patients with access to world-class care without having to leave their community,” said Dean Harrison, CEO of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare, in a news release.

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Northwestern has been criticized in recent years for focusing many of its dollars on the city’s downtown, North Side and suburbs without doing enough for patients on the South and West sides of the city — something Northwestern leaders have long refuted.

Leaders of SEIU Healthcare Illinois blasted Northwestern in 2020 when Northwestern announced plans to spend more than $100 million to expand care at its downtown hospital and open a medical office building in Bloomingdale. The SEIU is a union that represents workers at Northwestern Memorial, including housekeepers, certified nursing assistants and dietary workers.

SEIU leaders said at the time they wanted to see Northwestern build facilities to care for patients on the city’s West and South sides, rather than in affluent suburbs, partly to serve areas where many of its workers live.

Harrison, however, said in the news release that Northwestern has partnered with Bronzeville community organizations for more than 20 years to promote the health and wellness of South Side residents.

Since 1999, Northwestern has worked with the Near North Health Service Corporation to provide services at the Near North’s Komed Holman Health Center in the South Side Oakland neighborhood, which offers services including mammograms, colonoscopies, x-rays, mental health care and eye care.

Northwestern has also partnered with Bright Star Community Outreach to support the Urban Resilience Network Center in Bronzeville, which provides counseling and other services, and to recruit Bronzeville residents to work at Northwestern.

Northwestern is also part of Chicago HEAL (Hospital Engagement, Action and Leadership), an effort among large area hospitals, launched by Sen. Dick Durbin, to improve health equity in 18 of Chicago’s neighborhoods with the highest rates of violence, poverty and inequality.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot praised Northwestern’s new project in Bronzeville, saying in a news release it will be a “welcome addition” to other developments in the Cottage Grove Corridor, including Shops on Lofts on 47th Street, the Lillian Marcie Theater Project and the upcoming Brightstar Turn Center.

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Northwestern’s proposed facility also aligns geographically with the mayor’s $1.4 billion INVEST South/West project, which aims to reverse decades of public and private disinvestment on 12 commercial corridors within 10 South and West Side community areas, according to the news release.

More to come.

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