Trying to keep St. Elizabeth's

December 5, 2013 

On Aug. 29 I spoke before an Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board regarding project 13-034. In short, the hearing was to determine whether St. Elizabeth's Hospital could cease operations for behavioral and drug addiction health care and combine efforts with Touchette Hospital.

I, like other public officials, were invited to sit down with St. Elizabeth's administration to hear their rationale. Not all officials accepted the invite; however, I did. With St. Elizabeth's residing in Ward 5, I have a duty to protect constituent interests and all residents.

My primary concern was St. Elizabeth's known plans to relocate to O'Fallon in part or full. I was quickly assured that project 13-034 had no correlation to my immediate concerns.

The bottom line is this: The behavioral and drug addiction health care program was costing St. Elizabeth's $2 million in lost revenue. That's more than three times the amount that necessitated the city to implement the defunct wheel tax and now the added sales tax. While Belleville will eventually get its funds from the state, the hospital's revenue is lost forever. I supported its petition.

I write this letter so the public knows the truth. If someone tells you or you receive in the mail that I did actions that would assist St. Elizabeth's to leave Belleville, they are not being truthful. Stopping the bleeding of a continuous $2 million deficit is one way to help keep St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Belleville.

Joseph Hayden

Alderman, Ward 5

Belleville

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