New east-side Elgin health clinic breaks ground as demand soars
By Janelle Walker For The Courier-News May 23, 2012 9:16PM
Elgin Mayor David Kaptain hands out shovels at a groundbreaking Wednesday for VNA Health Care's new center on Elgin's east side. The city helped VNA secure the land on Villa Street and fast tracked the needed approvals. 5/23/12. | Janelle Walker~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 3, 2012 8:52AM
ELGIN — This year, VNA Health Care has seen the number of people seeking treatment at its Elgin clinic increase by 30 percent, said Linnea Windel, president and CEO of the non-profit health care provider.
“Our demand has grown substantially,” Windel said Wednesday as she and area dignitaries prepared for the ceremonial groundbreaking of an east-side facility designed to meet that demand.
VNA Health Care expects to begin construction in a few weeks, with completion set for November. Windel said, the 20,000-square-foot facility will include 24 exam rooms and space for future expansion at the new site, at 801 Villa St., near the intersection of Willard Avenue.
The new location — in addition to the existing facility at 620 Wing St., on Elgin’s near-west side — will provide family, ob/gyn and pediatric services to Elgin and area residents.
“We will increase capacity to provide care for the entire community,” Windel said. And, she added, with no federal, state or local grant funds in the project, it will be self-funded by VNA (formerly called the Visiting Nurse Association).
The health care provider did receive approval from the Bureau of Primary Health Care in Washington, D.C., to construct the new facility, she said. Many of its patients include those with either no insurance or those on Medicare, Windel said.
The city of Elgin helped the project along the way — helping to secure the property and to “fast track” the permits needed for construction, said Mayor David Kaptain.
He has connections to VNA Health Care, Kaptain said — his wife, Sandy, worked at its Aurora facility as a hospice and home care nurse for many years.
VNA’s new Villa Street location is the perfect location to meet need — near Route 20 and Chicago Street as well as Pace bus services, Kaptain said.
“It is a reflection of what a city does — it helps people and gives them a place to go when they need help,” Kaptain said. “We look forward to VNA serving our residents and those from surrounding communities as well.”
VNA was looking for a location that was convenient for its clients, Windel said.
There is simply not enough space at its current facility to continue meeting the need, Windel said. The Wing Street facility sees about 9,000 patients a year. In the first year of the new facility, the agency expects to provide 15,000 medical exams, she said.
As use dictates, the new facility will have space for a 20-exam-room expansion, she added, along with the parking needed for the facility.
Changes to health care on the federal level also could impact the number of people seeking health care from VNA, Windel said. “It could increase as more people obtain Medicaid … and at the same time, those who are uninsured.”