When Peg Sebastian’s mother was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer, they became well acquainted with the 90-mile drive to Chicago from her rural hometown to find the health care her mom needed.
Sebastian, the CEO of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, said she vowed after that experience to bring good health care closer to communities to help maintain small-town relationships. While St. Elizabeth’s is leaving its longtime home in Belleville, Sebastian says she hopes to develop new connections regionally — from Effingham to the Mississippi River.
Metro-east residents are likely familiar with driving across the river to find health care. The CEO, who got her start in nursing, hopes once the new 144-bed hospital opens on Nov. 4 in O’Fallon, those residents won’t have to drive so far.
“We want to have the highest platform of technology so people are not having to travel across the river,” Sebastian said. “When you have to travel a long distance, you lose that relationship (with the hospital).”
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A larger emergency room department, bigger operating rooms and a medical office building, or health center, bring more capabilities than previously available in Belleville, according to Sue Holloway, director of construction management.
A core group of health care providers will remain in Belleville to offer outpatient services, the CEO said.
“80 percent of patients are outpatients,” Sebastian said. “We want to honor people in Belleville.”
Several St. Elizabeth’s divisions will also remain in Belleville, including staff development, information technology, marketing and communications, and administration.
The lion’s share of the most-advanced medical services will be in O’Fallon, however.
The smallest operating room in the new hospital is bigger than the largest in the Belleville facility, Holloway said. And there’s room to grow as new technology becomes available.
The hospital offers the most-advanced technology in the region, according to Sebastian. A hybrid operating room means the most brittle patients won’t have to move during operation to receive necessary treatment. Nurses won’t be located at a central desk, but rather at workstations right outside patient rooms for an increased bedside presence. A women and infants center was built with suggestions from focus groups in mind.
We want to have the highest platform of technology so people are not having to travel across the river,” Sebastian said. “When you have to travel a long distance, you lose that relationship (with the hospital).
Peg Sebastian, CEO of HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital
Also new to the hospital system is the adjacent health center, which is accessible from the hospital on every floor. Specialists including cardiologists, an around-the-clock Cardinal Glennon pediatrician and gastroenterologists, to name a few, will be stationed in the health center near an in-house retail pharmacy.
Tenants booked up the new center more than a year ago, the construction manager said. The building is popular because of its proximity to the hospital, which lends convenient access to hospital resources, Holloway said, rather than doctors having to go to an entirely separate building.
But more buildings will eventually call the campus home, the CEO said. The hospital owns land to the north and south. To the north, land currently home to a corn field meets up with U.S. 50, a major thoroughfare connecting communities to the east and west.
Sebastian says the hospital hopes to attract additional specialty services and physicians with higher technical training.
Though two groups have already reached out to the hospital about adding buildings, Sebastian and other hospital officials are focused for the moment on the imminent opening of the new facility. The public will have the opportunity to tour the facility from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 7 and 8.
Tracking the public’s reaction to the new facility is also on the CEO’s agenda once the hospital opens, Sebastian added.
“We’re excited to see if we got it right, if we built the bricks and mortar the way people wanted to see,” Sebastian said.
The Hospital Sisters Health System has 15 hospitals in Illinois and Wisconsin, according to their website, along with nearly 2,300 physician partners.
The health care system is named for St. Elizabeth of Hungary, a charitable 13th century Franciscan known for establishing a hospital and caring for the sick until her death at the age of 24, according to the Encyclopedia Brittanica.
If you go
Public Open House at HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon:
- 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 7-8
- One St. Elizabeth’s Blvd., O’Fallon, IL 62269
- Event includes an open house for the public with a tour of the new facility.
At a glance
Here’s a list of services offered at the new medical campus:
A full list of services offered by the new HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon
- First floor: Emergency department, radiology, inpatient pharmacy, reception, cafe and gift shop.
- Second floor: Intensive care unit, operating rooms, surgery prep and recover, post-anesthesia care unit, endoscopy, cath lab, electrophysiology lab, vascular lab, respiratory.
- Third floor: Women and infant center with postpartum, labor and delivery, well baby and intermediate care, assessment and C-section care.
- Fourth floor: Rooms for on-call staff, progressive care unit
- Fifth floor: Comprehensive rehabilitation unit, dialysis, chapel and pastoral care, kitchen and cafeteria, indoor and outdoor dining room.
A full list of services offered at the HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Health Center
- First floor: Lobby, retail pharmacy, cardiac rehabilitation, Prairie Heart and Vascular Institute, Medical staff office, physician lounge, health information management and health records.
- Second floor: Women’s imaging center, infusion, IT, lab, Prairie Heart administration.
- Third floor: Wound care center, administrative offices, volunteers, St. Elizabeth’s Foundation, physical and occupational therapy, HSHS pain management, Grace Women’s health care, Lincoln Surgical, Human resources and employee health.
- Fourth floor: Saint Louis University Family Residency, Scott AFB Family Medicine and OB Clinic.
- Fifth floor: HSHS Medical Group physician offices, multispecialist clinics including neurosciences, urology, pulmonology, neurology, gastroenterology, orthopedics surgery and sports medicine.