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Silver Cross introduces plans for behavioral health hospital in New Lenox

Silver Cross Hospital is looking to construct a behavioral health hospital that will meet the needs of Will and Grundy counties’ residents facing mental health or substance abuse crises.

Dubbed as Silver Oaks Hospital, this expansion – which totals to a two-story, 68,000-square-foot facility that would be built on the New Lenox campus – would provide 100 beds, as well as inpatient and outpatient services.

At a Jan. 11 press conference, Silver Cross officials and other community leaders came together to discuss the proposed $22 million capital development.

Among those in attendance were Silver Cross President and CEO Paul Pawlak; Silver Cross Vice President of Business Development and Chief Strategy Officer Ruth Colby; Will County Executive Larry Walsh and Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow.

“We look at the whole perspective of healthcare and we felt that this time there was one area that really needed some attention,” Pawlak said. “I think we all know that just about one out of every four Americans unfortunately suffer from mental illness or substance or chemical abuse.

“That’s a high number. So, we’ve been looking at this subject for a number of months, and then in December our board at Silver Cross approved us to build a 100-bed psychiatric hospital on the Silver Cross campus.”

Silver Cross partnered with US HealthVest, a behavioral healthcare company, to move forward with Silver Oaks. To add, the project will be fully funded by US HealthVest, Colby noted.

“They’re going to be able to bring inpatient, outpatient and ER programs that we currently don’t have,” Pawlak said of US HealthVest’s involvement. “This is going to be a vast improvement for mental health services in Will County.”

To advance the project, a certificate of need application must be filed to the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board by February.

Caring for the community

In 2012, the Tinley Park Mental Health Center closed, which left Will and Grundy counties without an outlet to offer services to area residents with mental health or substance abuse issues, as well as a place for victims of abuse to turn to.

Silver Cross does run an existing 20-bed inpatient unit for individuals 18 years and older, as well as adult outpatient treatment programs to address those issues, but officials recognize that what the hospital has now is not enough.

In Will and Grundy counties, there are more than 8,000 cases of individuals suffering from mental health related issues, Colby shared. She noted roughly 60 percent of those seeking inpatient acute mental healthcare go to units outside the area.

That’s why erecting Silver Oaks would be a “godsend” in the community, Glasgow said.

“We’re a county of over 700,000 people,” he added. “It’s long overdue.”

Silver Cross, too, outlined how many cases they encountered in 2016: 77,990 emergency visits, 21,153 inpatient admissions and 165,600 outpatient registrations.

Glasgow added Will County’s courts need facilities like Silver Oaks to function at optimum level.

The proposed New Lenox hospital would mirror facilities like Linden Oaks Behavioral Health in Naperville, which provide a wide range of mental health and behavioral programs for adolescents and adults.

The project holds a number of benefits to the community, including job creation. Silver Cross would add 200 jobs for New Lenox area residents.

Baldermann said he is proud to know the way the community has embraced Silver Cross since relocating to New Lenox.

“This is an area at one time over a decade ago was talking about 2 million-square-feet of retail,” Baldermann said. “While as we know the way shopping is done nowadays, that’s changed – and in my opinion, to our benefit.

“Silver Cross has a been a wonderful partner with us here in New Lenox, and we are thrilled to see the expansion of quality healthcare services for our residents and for the entire area.”

Construction for Silver Oaks, if approved, would begin late summer and the building would open in 2019. For more information on the plans for Silver Oaks or updates, visit

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