Metro-East News

Memorial Hospital East to celebrate first birthday, and you’re invited

First baby born at new Memorial Hospital East in Shiloh

Sasha Hanvey, of Millstadt, is the mother of the first baby delivered at Memorial Hospital East. The new Shiloh facility officially opened for business Tuesday in the metro-east.
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Sasha Hanvey, of Millstadt, is the mother of the first baby delivered at Memorial Hospital East. The new Shiloh facility officially opened for business Tuesday in the metro-east.

First birthdays are a big deal, usually celebrated with large parties.

Memorial Hospital East’s first birthday won’t be any different. The Shiloh hospital will turn 1 on Wednesday, and the public is invited to the party from 1:30-4 p.m.

The first baby born at Memorial East — David Hanvey — and his family are expected to attend to celebrate his birthday as well. David’s parents, Brett and Sasha Hanvey, of Millstadt, arrived at the 94-bed hospital on Cross Street at 5:30 a.m. April 12, 2016 — the exact time the new hospital opened for business.

David was born at 9:05 a.m. via a scheduled cesarean delivery.

Like babies celebrating their first birthday, Memorial Hospital East is already growing bigger. A medical office building — a $25-million 70,500-square-foot facility — is currently under construction on the campus of Memorial East. The new building, which is expected to open in the fall, will provide office space for primary care physicians and physician specialists as well as offer imaging, laboratory and physical/occupational and speech therapy services.

1,014 babies born since opening

24,550 emergency department visits

4,000 admissions in the first year

Ruth Holmes was named administrator of Memorial Hospital East in March 2012 more than four years before it opened. She served as the first point of contact for the construction team of Pepper Construction Group in Chicago and Holland Construction in Swansea. She also worked closely with the architect HDR, Inc.

Here’s what Holmes, who has worked at Memorial for more than 35 years, had to say about the hospital’s first anniversary:

Q: How do you feel as the hospital is approaching its one-year anniversary?

A: “I am simply amazed at just how quickly the year has passed. I am so pleased with the communities of Shiloh and O’Fallon and how they have embraced our new hospital entrusting us to deliver the best community health care possible. We know based on surveys done after our patients are discharged that 85 percent would recommend Memorial East to friends and family based on the care that they received.”

Q: What are some of the challenges you faced over the last year as administrator of a newly opened hospital?

A: “As you might imagine the challenges of building versus overseeing the day-to-day operations of a hospital are totally different. There are still many decisions everyday about operations but I would stress that my focus now is really making sure that our patients see value in every hospital encounter. There are days that it is so easy to get caught up in the financials and strategic planning that the challenge becomes to always remember why we are here and being in the moment with every patient and every staff member.”

Q: Are there any accomplishments you are particularly proud of over the course of the past year?

A: “I am so proud to have had a role in bringing the healthcare dream to this community. It may sound crazy but there are days that I simply marvel at the fact that we opened this hospital as promised on time. I would say that I am most proud of being given the opportunity to have a leadership role working with such dedicated staff as we maintain a vision for becoming a premier health-care destination.”

Q: Is Memorial Hospital East busier than you expected? Did you expect 1,014 babies to be born at the new hospital, 24,550 emergency department visits and more than 4,000 admissions (in the first year)?

“Opening in the spring and leading into summer can be slower times even for well established hospitals; however, the emergency room and babies ramped up very quickly. We are now experiencing the winter months for the first time and we are very pleased with our first-quarter numbers.”

Q: How has the staffing changed at the new hospital? Has the number of employees increased over time as demand increased?

A: “Staffing has not been a big issue for Memorial East, and there have not been major fluctuations in staff. There were many employees that moved from the Belleville campus and now we have a combination of full-time and part-time staff in the range of approximately 500 employees.”

Q: Do you think the opening of St. Elizabeth’s replacement hospital in O’Fallon on Nov. 4 will have an impact on Memorial Hospital East?

A: “It stands to reason that the opening of another facility in the community will impact our operations, to what extent is yet to be determined. I will say that having the distinction of being first has given us the opportunity to provide the community with an example of first class quality health care that they can always count on.”

Q: In hindsight, is there anything you wish you could now change about the design of the hospital? What works well about the design?

A: “I have done so many tours to various groups talking about the design, each opportunity is a reaffirmation in that the patient was always the central focus with the staff coming in a close second by providing them with the tools and the environment to make taking care of patients easy. The private rooms, family members being accommodated to overnight stays with their loved ones and room service dining are just a few of the things I hear are patient favorites.”

Jamie Forsythe: 618-239-2562, @BND_JForsythe

Want to go?

  • What: Memorial Hospital East’s first birthday party
  • When: 1:30 to 4 p.m. Wednesday
  • Where: hospital’s main lobby, 1404 Cross St. in Shiloh