Lurie Children’s Hospital seeks state permission to add beds for cancer patients – Chicago Tribune
Lurie Children’s Hospital wants to add another 24 beds for cancer patients — the hospital’s latest attempt to grow, even as other area hospitals pull back on their pediatric offerings.
The hospital has filed an application with the state to double its intensive care unit beds for children with cancer and blood disorders, at a cost of $27 million. If the state approves the project, Lurie’s total number of beds will jump from 336 to 360.
“We have been seeing so many more children with cancer and blood disorders the past several years that we need to double the number of our beds,” Lurie spokeswoman Julie Pesch said in an email.
The hospital sees more kids with cancer and blood disorders than any hospital in Illinois, according to its application. Adding the 24 beds would help the hospital serve cancer and blood disorder patients who qualify for intensive care, but now are hospitalized in other units.
The number of kids transported to Lurie grew by 43 percent over the past five years, and about half of those transports are to intensive care. The number of days cancer and blood disorder patients spent in the hospital grew by 42 percent between 2013 and 2017.
Lurie attributes that fast growth in cancer and blood disorder patients to its status as a regional referral center for complex pediatric cases. Also, other area hospitals have slashed more than 170 pediatric beds from their facilities since 2012, according to Lurie’s application.
“As a result, many of the patients who would have been seen at these hospitals are now transferred to Lurie Children’s or other pediatric centers in the Chicago area,” according to the application.
Lurie has been growing at lightning speed in recent years. In May, the state approved the hospital’s request to add 48 beds — 44 intensive care beds and four neonatal intensive care beds — at a cost of $51 million after hospital leaders said they had been unable to accept a number of transfers from other hospitals because of a lack of space.
Meanwhile, other area hospitals have been cutting pediatric beds.
Mount Sinai Hospital, on the city’s West Side, announced in June that it planned to stop offering pediatric trauma and inpatient care.
In addition to facing stiff competition from Lurie, hospitals sometimes lose money on pediatric inpatient care because of low Medicaid reimbursement rates. Also, demand for pediatric inpatient care in some areas has slowed as more care becomes outpatient.