September 3, 2014

Weekly Review September 3

State regulators approve two UCMC projects

State regulators last week approved two multi-million dollar University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) projects, including one it had previously rejected.

The projects were approved by the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board at a public hearing and vote on August 27. Both applications were approved unanimously with six votes, though three board members were absent.

“These projects align with our strategic focus to ensure the best possible care for our patients, while also keeping pace with evolving care delivery amid health-care reform and remaining a strong community partner,” Assistant Director of the News Office at the UCMC Ashley M. Heher wrote in a statement.

One project will relocate 154 hospital beds from the Bernard Mitchell Hospital building to the newer Center for Care and Discovery (CCD), add 43 additional beds to the CCD, and expand the size of some of the CCD’s units. For this project, the third and fourth floors, which currently sit empty, will be developed. The project will cost approximately $123 million.

The board rejected the project at a July hearing in a vote of four in favor of the project and two against, with three board members absent. Projects require five votes for approval. The UCMC had the option of a second hearing and vote, which it announced it would take advantage of right after the initial rejection.The UCMC submitted a supplemental letter addressing questions raised at the initial hearing, as well as additional letters of support, for the second vote.

Mike Constantino, a member of the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, said in an e-mail that at the second vote “the State Board Staff’s finding did not change but the Board members felt the project was justified.”

The other project is a new $69-million facility in Orland Park, a southwest suburb of Chicago. The facility will include a four-story building and a two-story parking garage and will expand access to specialty care in the region as well as increase outpatient capacity. A report by the board staff recommended against approving the project, saying other facilities in the region could support the demand for services.

Activists from the Trauma Center Coalition opposed both projects, sending representatives to comment in opposition. Additionally, Affiliated Oncologists, LLC, a group of physicians, submitted a letter opposed to the Orland Park project, stating the project was unnecessary because several other facilities in the region provide two of the specialized services the University’s Orland Park facility will offer.

At the hearing, UCMC President Sharon O’Keefe was asked to comment on the issue of a Level I adult trauma center on the South Side, according to the Hyde Park Herald. O’Keefe said that the UCMC was in talks with other medical directors about the issue of trauma and that the UCMC had done an analysis from an operational standpoint on having a Level I adult trauma center.

“We continually have discussions with other area health care providers about ways to improve the health of the South Side. Among the topics that have come up recently include the trauma care issue. As we typically do around our efforts to address community health needs, we will share any developments as they unfold,” Executive Director of Strategic Communications at the UCMC Lorna Wong said in an e-mail.

According to the UCMC’s statement, the Orland Park project will begin this fall, and the development of the CCD will begin in the near future.

Changes coming to Hyde Park dining

Two changes are coming to the Hyde Park restaurant scene as two restaurateurs shake up their businesses this fall.

B’Gabs Goodies will move into a new, expanded facility at 1450 East 57th Street, from its current location at 6100 South Blackstone Avenue, this September. The raw, vegan, and gluten-free deli and café will offer 40 seats at its new location, double its current capacity. Owner Gabrielle Darvassy’s husband, Ron Brigel, will continue to sell herbs for homeopathic medicine out of the store, as he does at the current location.

The new location has a special meaning for the couple, Darvassy told DNAinfo Chicago. The space was previously occupied by Caffe Florian, where they went on their first date as a couple. They shared deep-dish pizza on the date, before Darvassy began following a raw, vegan diet.

B’Gabs Goodies offers a variety of drinks, meals, and desserts, as well as meal plans and juice cleanses. Drinks range from $5 to $12, meals cost $9 to $12, and desserts range from $1.50 to $3.

Further north, chef Matthias Merges, who owns A10 and the soon-to-open Yusho in Hyde Park, among other restaurants, will preview Yusho’s menu in a prix fixe four-course menu at A10 on September 8. For one night he will serve Japanese cuisine, introducing Hyde Park diners to the cuisine his new restaurant will offer. Reservations became available August 27.

Yusho in Hyde Park will be the third location of the restaurant, the first of which is in Logan Square. Yusho offers Japanese-inspired small plates, sake, and other drinks. Dishes range in price from $5.50 to $17. The Hyde Park location will open September 13, according to the Hyde Park Herald.

Yusho has faced several hurdles in opening its Hyde Park location at 1301 East 53rd Street. It was originally scheduled to open in February, but was postponed due to a lawsuit filed by neighborhood residents. The lawsuit challenged the University’s petition to remove an alcohol ban in the precinct in which Yusho is located. The lawsuit was dismissed in December.

Center in Delhi launches International Innovation Corps

The University launched a new global initiative this summer called the International Innovation Corps (IIC), a fellowship program designed to provide innovative solutions to social issues in India. The program draws fellows from both UChicago and top Indian universities to work with organizations in India.

The IIC pairs its fellows in teams with public sector institutions to grapple with a yearlong project. In its first year it raised $750,000 in funding from donations. This year, the IIC has three teams of five fellows each, three from UChicago, drawing from the College and the graduate and professional schools, and two from Indian universities. The University provides project managers and mentors for each team.

“During the first year, IIC applicants [from the University] were primarily from masters programs in the social sciences and physical sciences, the College (biological sciences, physical sciences, humanities, social sciences, etc.), and the Law School,” co-founder and Project Director at the Law School Phoebe Holtzman (A.B. ’10) said in an e-mail.

The inaugural three projects focus on a range of issues affecting India today. Fellows began working with partner organizations in August after weeks of training, according to Holtzman.

One partnered with Central Electronics Limited, an engineering company, to restructure the organization and promote electronics exports. The second partnered with the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation to create a new city charter for a city near Delhi. The third partnered with the National Skill Development Corporation to create jobs through the micro-textile model, a relatively new technique in the garment industry.

The IIC was found by UChicago law professor Anup Malani, PayPal founding member Sanjay Bhargava, and Holtzman. The IIC plans to expand to other countries within the next three years and increase the number of projects accordingly. Its goal is to raise $2 million for 7 projects in its second year, and to have 15 projects its third year.