In rural areas, the average person has to drive more than 30 minutes to reach the nearest healthcare facility. That travel time can make the difference between life and death. In Princeton and the surrounding areas, the community has benefited from having a strong, progressive hospital for the past 100 years, ready to meet the needs of anyone walking through its doors. Perry Memorial Hospital’s leadership is now considering what needs to be done to ensure the community’s healthcare needs can continue to be met far into the future.
Mayor Joel Quiram, Annette Schnabel, Perry Memorial Hospital CEO/President, and Perry board members traveled on December 10 to OSF/St. Paul Hospital in Mendota to visit with the president and board members who oversaw the transition of Mendota Hospital to full affiliation with OSF.
Annette Schnabel said, “The visit provided an understanding of the impact of OSF full affiliation at the community, employee, and service levels.”
The original existing hospital built in 1951 needed $24 million of improvements to bring the hospital up to current regulations. It’s location of 1315 Memorial Drive was landlocked, which prevented future expansion. On December 7, 2011, the doors opened to a new $30 million state-of-the-art facility at 1401 East 12th Street in Mendota. The decision to invest in a new building was the best alternative for the future of community healthcare. However, the revenue did not grow, costs rose, and the cash on hand was used to operate the hospital. It was time for hospital leadership to consider other options.
Mendota, like Perry, was an OSF affiliate. After interviewing multiple health systems, OSF was selected as the best potential partner for future community health due to the established relationship and the expertise and vision of OSF. Mendota’s board members in attendance could not have been happier with their decision; without the full affiliation with OSF, the current hospital would probably be an empty building.
Growth at OSF/St. Paul, Mendota has taken place since full affiliation in April 2015. Mendota Hospital originally offered four primary care physicians – one APP, one general surgeon, one orthopedic and one part-time gynecologist. All remained except full-time orthopedics due to population and demographic needs, so it was transitioned to a part-time service.
Today, Mendota’s onsite care has grown with a focus on primary care and now has five primary care physicians, five APPs, one general surgeon, one part-time gynecologist and one part-time orthopedic surgeon. With the resource of the OSF regional ministry, TeleHealth and shared services have grown with the addition of TeleNeurology, TeleEpilepsy, TeleSleep, and EICU.
The full affiliation allows OSF/St. Paul, Mendota to anticipate and adjust to meet the needs of all patients, even when there is an influx of inpatient stays beyond the capacity of the hospital. Their structure actually includes keeping patients at home where they receive local care, and it removes the need to be transitioned to another hospital far away from home.
Witnessing the outcomes in Mendota will help to guide the ongoing discussions between Perry and OSF. Perry’s executive team and board members are committed to finding a long-term solution that ensures Princeton and the surrounding communities have access to quality healthcare for another 100 years. They will continue to evaluate if and how a partnership with OSF would be the best long-term solution.