Woodstock launches community forums on Centegra changes ahead of state board public hearing

WOODSTOCK – Woodstock city officials are launching a campaign to get residents to go to the upcoming state hospital board public hearing in response to Centegra Health System’s suspension of surgical and inpatient services at its Woodstock Hospital as part of a facilities overhaul to save money.

Centegra in June announced an overhaul of its facilities and services. The plan included closing its intensive care and medical-surgical operations at Woodstock. Centegra moved those services to McHenry and Huntley hospitals. The emergency department at the Woodstock hospital is now basic, which means people who need inpatient or surgical care will be transferred to a different facility.

Some services such as Centegra’s outpatient mental health program will move to the Woodstock campus.

The changes took effect Aug. 14 and some require state approval. If the Illinois Heath Facilities and Services Board denies Centegra’s plans, some changes would have to be reversed.

The board will consider Centegra’s proposal in November. Before that, residents will get a chance to weigh in on the issue at a public hearing from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Woodstock Opera House, 121 W. Van Buren St.

Residents and city officials have been critical of the changes. They said that the community needs comprehensive emergency services and health care.

“We are hearing [concerns] dramatically from residents,” Woodstock Mayor Brian Sager said. “It’s not just from Woodstock. It’s from people in the immediate surrounding area as well. We hear that concern. … Although this is a private business, we need to make sure our residents feel secure and have a good quality of life.”

Woodstock called for the public hearing, which isn’t required by law. The city now plans to host three community forums next week to educate residents about the process, Sager said.

“We felt it was important to help our residents understand what steps and considerations the state board is going…

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