Rendering of the new Rush medical facility in Austin. Credit: Polly Tita of Rush

AUSTIN — Rush Oak Park Hospital is building a sprawling medical facility in Austin, providing more health care options in a part of the city that’s long struggled with health disparities.

Rush announced plans for the 60,000-square-foot, $70 million outpatient center Monday. It’ll take over the former Sears at North and Harlem avenues near the city’s western border.

The three-story site will have 90 rooms for exam, consulting and procedure purposes, and it will provide urgent care, cancer, neurology and cardiology services, according to a news release. A grocery store could be attached, though details about that have not yet been disclosed.

West Siders will also be able to make primary care appointments and seek out lab and radiology services at the facility, according to Rush. It will have 200 parking spaces.

Rush Oak Park CEO Dino Rumoro said the facility will be critical for jobs and health equity to the community, and it will expand on the services offered nearby at Rush Oak Park Hospital at 520 S. Maple Ave. in Oak Park.

“I hope that bringing services closer to the community will help decrease the [life expectancy] gap on the West Side,” Rumoro said.

The facility still needs the state’s OK to break ground, but it could be completed by 2025, Rumoro said.

Although Rush’s Oak Park facility is roughly a 15-minute drive from Austin, Rumoro said the new facility fits a trend of shifting to outpatient care. He said patients are opting for cheaper, more manageable care at home.

“Technology has expanded to where you can get an MRI scan anywhere,” Rumoro said. “It has brought us to a point where we can deliver more services and treatment options on an outpatient basis.”

The West Side and its residents have for decades faced disinvestment, systemic racism and other issues that have led to health care gaps. West Garfield Park residents live to an average age of 69, compared to age 85 for people living in the Loop, according to a 2015 Virginia Commonwealth University report.

“I know there are other factors that affect this, but I would hope bringing these services closer to the community would help close that gap here,” Rumoro said.

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