MEDINA NURSING CENTER, INC.; ALPINE FIRESIDE HEALTH CENTER, LTD.; NEIGHBORS REHABILITATION CENTER, LLC; and FAIRVIEW NURSING PLAZA, INC., Plaintiff-Appellants,
THE HEALTH FACILITIES AND SERVICES REVIEW BOARD; THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH; PECATONICA PAVILION, INC.; REVERE HEALTHCARE, LTD.; DALE GALASSIE, in His Capacity as Chairman of The Health Facilities and Services Review Board; RONALD S. EAKER, in His Capacity as a Member of The Health Facilities and Services Review Board; ALAN GREIMAN, in His Capacity as a Member of The Health Facilities and Services Review Board; JOHN HAYES, in His Capacity as a Member of The Health Facilities and Services Review Board; and DAVID PENN, in His Capacity as a Member of The Health Facilities and Services Review Board, Defendants-Appellees.
Appeal from Circuit Court of Sangamon County No. 11MR175 Honorable John Schmidt, Judge Presiding.
Justices Pope and Holder White concurred in the judgment and opinion.
¶ 1 Plaintiffs are Medina Nursing Center, Inc.; Alpine Fireside Health Center, Ltd.; Neighbors Rehabilitation Center, LLC; and Fairview Nursing Plaza, Inc.
¶ 2 Defendants are the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board and its members (the Board); the Illinois Department of Public Health (Department); Pecatonica Pavilion, LLC (Pecatonica); and Revere Healthcare, Ltd. (Revere).
¶ 3 Plaintiffs brought this action for judicial review of the Board's decision to approve project No. 10-031, a proposal to construct a 24-bed long-term-care nursing facility in Pecatonica, Illinois. The circuit court entered judgment against plaintiffs and in defendants' favor. Plaintiffs appeal.
¶ 4 Because judicial review is impossible without a reasoned explanation by the Board, we vacate the circuit court's judgment and remand this case to the Board with directions that the Board provide, in writing, a reasoned explanation for its decision, complete with "findings and conclusions." 735 ILCS 5/3-110 (West 2010).
¶ 5 II. ANALYSIS
¶ 6 A. An Overview of the Parties and the Controversy
¶ 7 Plaintiffs are in the business of providing long-term nursing care, and they object to the advent of a new competitor, Pecatonica. Their stated reason for objecting is that the more empty beds they have, the fewer patients they will have among whom they can spread the cost of their operations, with the consequence that their per-patient prices will have to go up. To prevent the construction of redundant health care facilities, the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Act (Planning Act) (20 ILCS 3960/1 to 19.6 (West 2010)) contains licensing procedures. "No person shall construct, modify or establish a health care facility or acquire major medical equipment without first obtaining a permit or exemption from the State Board." 20 ILCS 3960/5 (West 2010).
¶ 8 Pecatonica applied to the Board to construct a nursing care facility, and Revere prepared a study in support of the application. These two appellees, Pecatonica and Revere, have filed a brief, and we will call them "the applicants."
¶ 9 B. The Public Hearing and the State Agency Report
¶ 10 Whenever someone files an application for a permit under the Planning Act, the Department-not the Board, but the Department-holds a public hearing on the application. 77 Ill. Adm. Code 1130.910(a), adopted at 30 Ill. Reg. 14852, 14957 (eff. Sept. 1, 2006). On August 13, 2010, the Department held a public hearing on the Pecatonica application.
¶ 11 Plaintiffs attended the public hearing and presented testimony and written comments in opposition to the project. The gist of their objection was that the project failed to meet the requirements of the Planning Act in that there was no need for a new facility in the planning area, given the excess ...