As the new president and CEO of HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, I am excited to begin serving the community and hearing from area residents about how we can best meet their health care needs at a time when our nation’s health care system is rapidly changing.
I recognize that our decision to move inpatient services from our current location to a new medical campus along I-64 is controversial. However, Belleville residents need to know that the health care services they use most often, such as visiting their doctor, getting their blood drawn for a lab test, or receiving an X-ray following an injury, will continue to be offered on St. Elizabeth’s downtown campus after our replacement hospital opens in late 2017. Despite misleading statements made in a recent letter to the editor, we have consistently stated that this is our intent for our Belleville location and have not wavered from that commitment.
What still needs to be determined is what happens to the patient tower where inpatient services are currently provided. In the months ahead, St. Elizabeth’s will form an advisory committee of community members to explore that issue. Our goal is to seek input from a cross-section of Belleville residents and develop a plan that will either lead to repurposing the building or creating new uses for that part of our campus. In the end, whatever plan the advisory group endorses must complement both Belleville’s vibrant downtown district and the health care services that remain. We now believe that those discussions can proceed in a meaningful manner following last week’s court decision to dismiss a legal challenge to our I-64 project.
St. Elizabeth’s is proud to care for residents from across the metro-east. We believe the new medical campus we are building along I-64 and changes to our current campus will provide a more contemporary health care delivery model that will allow us to continue serving this region for decades to come.
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I look forward to meeting with Belleville residents as we work together to shape the future of our downtown campus.
Peggy Sebastian is the president and CEO of HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.