Evanston’s St. Francis Hospital plans to shut down its 12-bed pediatric unit next year.

The hospital filed a request with the state health facilities board earlier this month for approval of the closure, saying the unit averaged just 1.7 patients a day last year, down from 2.3 in 2009.

A hospital spokesman told Crain’s Chicago Business that with so few patients maintaining the pediatric unit has becom financially impractical.

Increasingly parents have chosen to send their children to dedicated children’s hospital facilities.

St. Francis, with 271 beds, opened in 1901. It’s now part of the Presence Health, the second-largest health system in the Chicago area.

The hospital plans to convert the pediatric unit into an adult care unit with private rooms.

The health facilities board hasn’t yet set a hearing date for the St. Francis request.

Original story

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. With Evanston Hospital around…

    I find it hard to believe St. Francis is able to stay in business.  The two good things about St. Francis are their nursing program and their capability with cardio patients.  If you have ANYTHING else wrong, you should go elsewhere.  If you want to keep all of your medical care under the same umbrella, Evanston Hospital, being a teaching hospital, is far superior!  They've recently joined up with the Mayo Clinic and are already collaborating with UIC (since their split with Northwestern).

    1. Since the split with NU,

      Since the split with NU, NorthShore's collaboration is with the University of Chicago, not UIC.

    2. Both hospitals are good, not great

      I have been in both hospitals in the last two years. There are things that are good in each of them:

      1) St. Francis has the better heart related care.

      2) Evanston has the better cancer care.

      3) St. Francis has a great nursing staff while Evanston staff is below average.

      4) Evanston has the better womans center.

      5) If you are having issues with your knees or back, I wouldn't go to either. Glenbrook is the best.

      6) Both hospitals are well respected teaching hospitals for physicians but St. Francis also teaches their nursing staff as well as nurses fresh out of college.

      I would call the rest a draw.

      For me the deciding factor is the nursing staff and Evanston falls far short of St. Francis. The nurses are the backbone of a hospital and often decides on how well the patients precieive their care.

      Evanston hospital is now a partner with the Mayo Clinic but that is not that big of an advantage. The Mayo Clinic as well as the Cleveland Clinic are primarily reasearch hospital. They share information with thousands of other hospitals around the country, not just Evanston Hospital. That was a very good business move by North Shore but it is mostly for show.

      A lot of what is going on with hospital mergers is because need to do this to survive under obamacare. Hospitals are going to cost a lot more to run and recieve a lot less for patients using medicaid and medicare.

      It is going to be a whole new world for the sick in the next couple of years and many experts predict that it will not be pretty.

  2. St. Francis fan

    We get all of our care at St. Francis and have been happy with it.  In fact, our doctor and many others have privileges and practice at both of these Evanston hospitals. 

    By the way, St. Francis is also a teaching hospital.  Further, St. Francis is a trauma center and gives millions upon millions away in charity care.  St. Francis has historically done so because that is a part of their mission. 

    This is something I don't see Evanston Hospital doing, though the state will soon force them to in order for them to keep their tax-exempt status.

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