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Rush plans $473 million outpatient facility in Medical District

A 2015 master plan for Rush University's Medical District campus envisioned an out-patient facility connected by a bridge across Ashland to the star-shaped Tower Building. | Provided rendering

A $473 million outpatient center focusing on cancer and neurological care will be built on the Near West Side, Rush University Medical Center announced Tuesday.

The 11-story building will go up across the street from Rush’s Tower building at Ashland Avenue and Harrison Street, bolstering Rush’s presence at the cluster of medical facilities.

The buildings will be connected across Ashland Avenue by a fourth-floor bridge and an underground tunnel.

According to their application to a state regulator, the planned building is both less expensive (down from $500 million) and smaller (from 620,000 square feet) than construction envisioned for the site in a 2016 submission to state regulators. Since that plan was submitted, the focus of the facility was narrowed to cancer and neurological illnesses.

About 100 doctors focusing on those specialties will have offices in the new building. The services to be offered are now handled at scattered locations on Rush’s campus.

By locating the doctors in one building, Rush hopes to serve patients more efficiently, especially if they are visiting more than one doctor, according to the application.

The new building will be paired with a 6-story, 1,000-car parking garage. The site housed a set of Rush University dorms that were demolished last year.

It will join a series of new outpatient centers Rush is building around Chicago and its suburbs. A center opened in River North in 2017, and two more are under construction in the South Loop and Oak Brook.

Together, the River North and Oak Brook facilities are expected to drive a 20 percent increase in outpatient volume, according to Dr. Anthony Perry, Rush vice president for Ambulatory Transformation.

As health care costs increase, insurance companies and patients are increasingly opting for care at less expensive outpatient facilities, propelling bids by hospitals for a piece of the action.

The University of Chicago recently opened outpatient facilities in Orland Park and on the South Loop. Cook County is building a new Central Campus Health Center at its Illinois Medical District campus.

Rush will borrow about $202 million and use another $271 million to pay for the project. It still must be approved by state regulators. Rush filed a certificate of need application with the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board on August 3.

Construction is slated to begin in the spring, with completion expected in 2022.

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