Recognizing the importance of access to healthcare for an area of about 20,000 people, State Sen. Sue Rezin is spearheading legislation that would allow St. Mary’s Hospital in Streator to become a stand-alone emergency room.
House Bill 3213 was passed by the Senate Nov. 10.
“I know so many Streator citizens who are fearful of losing their emergency room, one that has saved so many lives over the years,” Rezin said. “This legislation is critical to making sure an ER stays in Streator and people’s lives and their overall health are not put in jeopardy.”
Earlier this year, it was announced Peoria-based OSF would purchase St. Mary’s Hospital owned by Springfield-based HSHS and take control of the Streator facility in early 2016. In-patient services are planned to be eliminated. Under current state law, OSF couldn’t operate an emergency room without in-patient services. House Bill 3213, however, would allow St. Mary’s to keep its ER without providing in-patient services.
“Streator and its surrounding area are too big to not have an emergency room,” Rezin said. “Without this important piece of legislation, those who need help the most and need it quickly, would have to travel 20 to 30 miles to the nearest emergency room. That is too long and too risky, especially when people’s lives are on the line. In addition, this would help maintain jobs, doctors, and high tech technology for this area.”
House Bill 3213 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.
HSHS and OSF say they are working together right now to provide a seamless transition. OSF says they will offer ambulatory care in the outpatient setting, offering lab tests, x-rays, and if this legislation is approved, emergency care, saving Streator residents from a 30-minute drive for these services.