I almost thought I would hear the words "Don't cry for me, Argentina" coming from the mouth of the St. Elizabeth's Hospital CEO. I don't think she gets it. It's not the building, it's the staff that make St. E's the choice for many.
The staff has tried valiantly to maintain quality and skills through the multiple CEOs since 1998. But I think the problem is endogenous to the good sisters. This is most certainly a bad idea for the greater Belleville area. But the sisters will learn again if the doctors on staff simply start referring their patients to Memorial.
You know, St. E's has done this before. St. Elizabeth's tried to move into the Monroe County area with a huge medical office building that cost a lot. But its time was brief and the building has been vacant for about four years and counting. The consensus in Monroe County is that there were not enough doctors.
O'Fallon may be only seven miles away but, thanks to the traffic on every corridor from Frank Scott Parkway to Shiloh Road, it is an added 20-30 minutes to get there.
If you were worried about keeping your doctor under Obamacare, I would switch to worrying about whether your doctor will choose to remain on the staff. Right now they can be on the staff of both St. E's and Memorial, but they might not like trying to treat patients in both locations with this new disincentive in place.
I will wait to see but this certainly does not seem an act of charity.
Joseph M. Reichert