“We are grateful for the court’s decision; it allows Quincy Medical Group to move forward to create real change in health and care in the tri-states,” said QMG CEO Carol Brockmiller in a statement. “Our physicians and family of employees have remained steadfastly committed to the QMG hospital and all that it can bring to our local patients, including choice and affordability.”
QMG would not confirm the timeline for the project’s construction and completion.
The dismissal of Blessing’s appeal to stop QMG’s hospital project this month is the latest update in a dispute between the two hospital groups that put private equity at the center of a decision to allow new hospitals to be built in rural areas already being served by safety-net and community providers.
QMG originally disclosed plans for its new hospital in 2020 and has since faced strong opposition from Blessing. The nonprofit, three-hospital chain has argued that QMG’s new hospital would siphon off its profitable surgeries and privately insured patients that keep it afloat financially. In the process, Blessing also took aim at QMG parent Duly Health & Care’s private-equity backer, Ares Management, expressing concern over what Blessing considers profit-motivated ownership that could threaten care in the area.
QMG has defended itself by saying it’s looking to introduce more competition in Quincy’s healthcare market and provide services not currently offered in the area. QMG has alleged that Blessing’s opposition to the project was spurred by Blessing’s desire to maintain a monopoly on healthcare services in the area.
After the contentious battle between the two hospital groups played out before the Illinois Health Facilities & Services Review Board, the board approved QMG’s project in April after previously issuing an intent-to-deny notice over concerns that the hospital would create “unnecessary duplication of service” in the area.
Soon after the board approved QMG’s hospital, Blessing appealed the decision in a Sangamon County Court in Springfield, and earlier this month, that court dismissed it.
“We are disappointed with the decision of the court to dismiss our request for review,” Maureen Kahn, president and CEO of Blessing, said in a statement. “We continue to believe that a second hospital in Quincy is an unnecessary duplication of services and are examining our options for reconsideration or appeal.”
This story first appeared in Crain’s Chicago Business.