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Public invited to second St. E’s hearing at fairgrounds

A second public hearing will be held Tuesday in Belleville to allow the public to voice concerns and support for St. Elizabeth’s Hospital’s plans to build a replacement hospital in O’Fallon.

The Health Facilities and Services Review Board will hold a public hearing at 5 p.m. at the Belle-Clair Fairgrounds and Expo Center at 200 South Belt East in Belleville. Sign in for public comment, which will be on a first-come, first-serve basis begins at 4:30 p.m.

St. Elizabeth’s leaders announced in June their plans to build a $253 million replacement hospital on 114 acres north of Interstate 64 and west of Green Mount Road. An urgent care center, along with other medical offices, would remain on a downtown Belleville medical campus, but the hospital building would be razed if no tenant can be found.

Here’s what supporters and those opposed to the plan have said:

SUPPORTERS

• The Belleville hospital building is about 60 years old and functionally obsolete. It would cost millions more and take about twice as long to update the existing building for modern-day medicine.



• The location off Interstate 64 will be more convenient than the center of Belleville for patients throughout the region to access. It also will be more convenient for patients referred to St. Elizabeth’s from smaller community hospitals, such as Hospital Sisters Health System hospitals in Breese and Highland.



• The new location will be long the I-64 “medical mile” corridor, which includes other nearby health facilities.



• The replacement hospital will be a full-service hospital with state-of-the-art technology. In addition, an attached medical office building will provide a full range of outpatient services with room for expansion.



OPPOSED

• St. Elizabeth’s will leave behind an under-served population in Belleville and surrounding communities. Many financially disadvantaged patients will not travel to O’Fallon for care.



• St. Elizabeth’s will abandon Belleville and the community where it has operated for about 140 years.



•  St. Elizabeth’s has an economic impact of $313 million, which Belleville cannot afford to lose. The loss of 1,300 employees and hospital patients in Belleville would affect the local economy in restaurants, hotels and gift shops.



• The replacement St. Elizabeth’s Hospital would be located less than two miles from Memorial Hospital-East, a 94-bed hospital that is being built on Cross Street in Shiloh.



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