Beware adding “Mid America” to the title of anything: You could wind up as an entity in search of a mission.
The Mid America Medical District is now trying to figure out why it exists. It was formed in 2007 as a way to save Kenneth Hall Regional Hospital, but that effort failed.
The district expanded to include Belleville and O’Fallon. O’Fallon leaders do not see the need to be involved and would rather opt out to let the group focus on the needs in East St. Louis. Belleville hasn’t bothered picking the three representatives to which it is entitled — in fact eight of 18 seats on the district board are vacant.
So the group is facing the question of whether to disband. We say do, or die.
If you are spending your time on footpaths instead of hospitals, then you’ve outlived your purpose. Just because the district can’t tax and has no staff does not mean it isn’t spending taxpayer dollars through state grants. It has handled $500,000 in grants with few tangible results, and is talking about adding staff.
East St. Louis Mayor Emeka Jackson-Hicks sees a use for the district and its bonding authority in their current effort to bring a medical facility to the city. Well, there are other authorities and entities capable of helping that effort.
Time to take the Mid America Medical District off life support.