11/1/02 - Out With the Old, In With the New

Pretty soon, it will be out with the old, and in with the new for a Heartland hospital--big news for folks in Marion. Work is underway for a new hospital called Heartland Regional Medical Center, set to open this December. It's the first new hospital to be built in Southern Illinois in 40 years. Hospital administrators say it was long overdue, and the community deserves a new medical center.
Marion Memorial CEO Ron Seal says, "We're expanding what we're doing and adding on to services that are in our present facility." The biggest, the addition of a heart unit and heart surgery. We caught up with Marion resident, Helen Elders, at the grocery store, but the new hospital is on her mind too. Not too long ago, her mom had to go to Paducah for heart surgery. She hopes the new hospital will keep her family in town. "I think they'll be able to do more surgeries and have better healthcare," Elders says. "When we first started, individuals going out of the area were 62 percent, we've dropped that to 30 percent, and with our new facility we'll drop that to 15 percent," Seal says.
It all doesn't look like much now, a dusty construction zone, but workers are getting things together. The hospital's also proud of its new OB unit, twice as much room for delivering babies. There's also a better ER that can handle more emergencies. Handling more emergencies is something administrators say is important, because the hospital will be right in the middle of things and help folks even outside of Marion. "We're right in the core of this part of the state," Seal says. "If you draw a circle of our facility with a 40 mile radius we're right in the core." The hospital says it can help with the area's economic health as well. The hospital will hire an additional 100 healthcare professionals and other workers.
There will be an open house at Heartland Regional Medical Center, Saturday, November 16th, so the public can go inside and take a look. The new hospital won't start seeing patients until December 12th, until then everyone can still go to Marion Memorial.