St. Elizabeth's Hospital wants to move from Belleville to O'Fallon -- a proposal Belleville leaders oppose while O'Fallon leaders support. But would it be good for the metro-east as a whole?
St. E's will need a Certificate of Need from the state to proceed. The Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board will judge based on the project's impact on health care costs, quality of care and accessibility to medical services, particularly for the poor.
So a few questions to ponder:
* Would poor people be served the same, worse or better if St. Elizabeth's moves?
* Would a new hospital in O'Fallon slow or accelerate the migration of patients to St. Louis?
* How would this affect Memorial Hospital in Belleville, which is already building a second hospital in Shiloh?
* What exactly does "re-envisioning" St. E's Belleville location mean? The hospital said it plans to vacate the main building; what assurances are there that it won't stay vacant and become an eyesore? The hospital said it plans to keep offices and some other services in Belleville. For how long?
When Memorial sought permission for its second hospital, leaders in both communities supported the plan. Is there a way to find constructive collaboration for this project? Or will there be only hostile division?