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St. Elizabeth’s parent company explores adding Greenville hospital

A BND file photo of St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Belleville.
A BND file photo of St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Belleville. Derik Holtmann/BND

The order of nuns that runs St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville is looking at acquiring Greenville Regional Hospital.

The boards of directors for Greenville Regional and Hospital Sisters Health System announced Thursday they have signed a letter of intent to begin the process of exploring an affiliation between the two organizations.

“Greenville Regional Hospital has proudly served the community since 1960. As we look to the future, we recognize that patients expect their care to be highly coordinated and easy to access,” said Brian Nall, president and CEO at Greenville Regional. “We have worked with many different healthcare providers from Illinois and Missouri over the years to bring specialized healthcare services to our patients. As we looked for a long-term partner, we found HSHS was a good fit for our culture and that our missions are closely aligned.”

Brian Reardon, a spokesman for HSHS, said if an affiliation is finalized, HSHS would assume the assets and the liabilities of Greenville Regional. There would not be a cash exchange, he said. HSHS would become the owner of Greenville Regional’s building.

Nall said Greenville Regional has been looking at possible hospital system affiliations for several years now with a goal of providing better care, better access to care and lower costs. After examining different possible hospital affiliations in Illinois and other states, Greenville Regional approached HSHS.

“We can no longer go it alone as an independent hospital,” Nall said.

The two boards of directors, in a joint announcement, said they “will be undertaking the necessary due diligence in order to ensure the affiliation will best serve the long-term health care needs of patients in the region.”

The due-diligence process that will occur before an affiliation is finalized is expected to take several months. Nall said the process may even take most of this year.

“We are excited about this opportunity to work with HSHS and continue to serve our rural community,” he said.

Following the due-diligence process, a determination will be made regarding GRH becoming the 15th affiliated hospital of HSHS. The 14 HSHS hospitals currently include St. Elizabeth’s in Belleville, St. Joseph’s in Highland and St. Joseph’s in Breese.

HSHS is seeking permission from state regulators to move St. Elizabeth’s from Belleville to O’Fallon.

GRH is an independent, non-profit hospital, providing residents of Bond and surrounding counties with inpatient, outpatient and emergency care services. GRH’s medical staff includes employed physicians and more than 50 specialty physicians who see patients for consultation and treatment at GRH each month. Nall said Greenville Regional has about 350 total employees.

The HSHS system is comprised of 14 hospitals and an integrated physician network across Illinois and Wisconsin. In Southwestern Illinois, HSHS provides care to patients at the Belleville, Breese and Highland hospitals, at HSHS Medical Group and Prairie Cardiovascular physician clinics; at several medical group and hospital-affiliated community health centers; and through HSHS Home Care services.

“We’re thrilled that Greenville Regional Hospital is looking to join our family of care,” said Mary Starmann-Harrison, president at CEO for HSHS. “We recognize that by more closely coordinating the care we deliver, we can increase access to care, continue to improve the quality of care, and deliver care more efficiently.”

St. Elizabeth’s is asking the state for approval to close its 303-bed hospital in downtown Belleville and open a replacement 144-bed hospital off Interstate 64 on North Green Mount Road. The cost of the project is $253 million. St. Elizabeth’s also plans to build an ambulatory care center adjacent to the new hospital, making the total cost of the project about $300 million.

St. Elizabeth’s plans to demolish the current hospital, if no new tenant can be found. Hospital leaders say an outpatient medical campus would remain in downtown Belleville, including an urgent care center, doctor offices, labs and therapy services.

State regulators are scheduled to hold a hearing April 21 on the St. Elizabeth’s request. HSHS says the 60-year-old St. Elizabeth’s building is obsolete.