SPRINGFIELD, Ill.-Two new open-heart surgery programs will be established in southern Illinois, with a third possible later this summer, after the state's oversight body waived its volume requirements.
Late last month, the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board approved a 92-bed replacement hospital for Marion (Ill.) Memorial Hospital, which is still housed in a structure dating from the 1950s. The new $48 million facility will include open-heart surgery capability and a cardiac catheterization laboratory. It should be completed by December 2001.
At the same time, the board allowed Memorial Hospital of Carbondale (Ill.) to start an open-heart program and to replace its mobile cardiac catheterization unit with a permanent one on the hospital campus. The town of Carbondale is only 15 miles away from Marion. The $1.6 million catheterization unit should be completed within a year.
The two new programs will operate under stringent oversight by the state's certificate of need committee. The board will audit the programs every six months to ensure they have enough volume. Within two years of operation, they must have performed at least 150 bypass operations, at least 200 angioplasties, and no fewer than 750 cardiac catheterizations or they will be closed.
Normally, the state board requires hospitals to hit a certain threshold of cardiac catheterizations before allowing them to start open-heart programs.
The 30 counties of southern Illinois have about 600,000 inhabitants. Roughly nine residents per thousand have catheterizations, and 1.7 per thousand have bypasses. That's a large enough market to support four or five cardiac programs, the state says. Until now, however, those patients have been traveling to hospitals in Cape Girardeau, Mo.; Evansville, Ind.; Paducah, Ky.; Springfield, Ill.; or St. Louis.
The Illinois board deferred its decision on whether to allow St. Mary's/Good Samaritan to add a catheterization lab at its St. Mary's Hospital in Centralia, Ill., and an open-heart program at its Good Samaritan Regional Health Center in Mount Vernon, Ill. The board will take up that issue in July.