SOUTHERN ILLINOIS -- Harrisburg Medical Center plans to join the Southern Illinois Healthcare family, after HMC's board of directors voted in favor of the move recently.
In an interview with both HMC President and CEO Donald Hutson and SIH President and CEO Rex Budde Monday afternoon, the move will benefit both organizations, the CEOs said.
"This is going to enhance our collaboration with SIH, which has been ongoing for quite a number of years, but this has grown it to the next level," Hutson said. "This will greatly enhance HMC's ability to grow and expand our services into this community that ultimately will allow us to provide even greater services that will result in patients having more access to clinical services closer to their home."
Budde agreed, saying being able to provide an expanded range of health care services in Harrisburg benefits patients greatly.
"In the long relationship we've had with HMC, we saw the benefit more and more to keeping patients at home. Working jointly to provide service in Harrisburg will make it easier on families," Budde said. "If you're going to be sick, it's easier if you're sick at your home hospital."
The move will require approval from the Illinois Health Facilities Services and Review board will take some time, Budde said. Already, the two organizations have spent 16 months in discussions and doing due diligence while exploring the possibility.
Another benefit will be more patient information being readily available to health care providers, Hutson said.
"This will enhance the flow of information to all venues of health services that will improve the quality of care, patient safety and patient satisfaction," he said.
HMC will continue to maintain an independent board of directors and foundation, Budde said. In addition, SIH's board of directors, which oversees all of SIH's business operations, will have representation from HMC, he said.
Budde said while details of expanded services continue to be developed, he sees full-time coverage of pulmonary and cardiology services in addition to enhanced neural care services as some possible additions to HMC, but said it is premature to say for certain.
"It's a process that is ongoing and there are a lot of details we can't know because of legal requirements," Budde said. "This is not something you do overnight."
Both organizations believe the enhanced affiliation would strengthen their existing relationship and create pathways to better meet the increasing clinical, financial and technological demands of delivering health care. HMC and SIH have long collaborated in areas such as general surgery, urology, podiatry and primary care. In addition, HMC is part of the SIH STAT Heart program and telestroke network.
Both CEOs say they believe the move will improve the quality of health care in the region.
"At HMC, we're very excited with this enhanced affiliation," Hutson said. "We share the same values and same vision with SIH. We believe this is a very natural fit and will ensure Harrisburg has a thriving medical community going into the future."
"I echo Don's comments," Budde said. "I believe this will continue to provide quality health care to southern Illinois."
Harrisburg Medical Center is a 71-bed nonprofit 501(c) (3) community hospital serving six counties in southeastern Illinois: Saline, Gallatin, Hardin, Pope, White and Williamson. With more than 450 employees, HMC is home to the only inpatient behavioral health program in the southernmost 16 counties. HMC also operates primary care and behavioral health clinics in Eldorado, Harrisburg and Marion, a surgical services clinic and two on-site clinics at mines in Williamson and Hamilton counties.
Carbondale-based Southern Illinois Healthcare is a not-for-profit health system serving the southernmost counties of Illinois with three hospitals, a comprehensive cancer center, Level II Trauma Center and more than 30 outpatient and specialty practices. The organization also is home to one of the busiest labor and delivery programs in Illinois south of Peoria with more than 2,200 births in 2020.
Recognized for quality outcomes in cardiac, stroke, bariatric, rehabilitation and cancer care, SIH holds affiliations with renowned peers such as the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formerly Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago), Prairie Heart Institute, SIU School of Medicine Family Practice Residency Program, Siteman Cancer Network and the BJC Collaborative. SIH is the region's second largest employer with 4,000 employees and the largest provider of charity care, unreimbursed care and community benefits.