ORLAND PARK, Ill.-SSM Health Care announced last month that it hopes to build a 130-bed hospital on a 66-acre parcel purchased in 1991 in suburban Chicago's Orland Park. That hospital would complement its St. Francis Hospital and Health Center in Blue Island, Ill. If approved by the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, construction would begin this year and the facility would open by 2007.
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill.-After more than 100 years in the acute-care hospital business,the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, the religious sponsor of Hobart, Ind.-based Ancilla Systems, said last month that it would sell its last hospital, St. Mary's Hospital of East St. Louis, for an undisclosed price. The decision to sell financially troubled St. Mary's was spurred by $28 million in losses incurred over the last five years by the Poor Handmaids, which at one time owned eight hospitals in poor neighborhoods of Midwest cities. Ancilla spokesman Thomas Handy said Ancilla has signed a memorandum of understanding to sell St. Mary's to not-for-profit Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation. Foundation Chief Executive Officer Robert Klutts said the hospital would be renamed Kenneth Hall Regional Hospital after a prominent state senator. Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the state Department of Public Aid will contribute $3.9 million to support hospital services at the former St. Mary's.
MADISON, Wis.-Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle signed legislation last month creating five regional health insurance-purchasing cooperatives, saying they would help farm families and self-employed workers receive cheaper healthcare coverage. The legislation, which was approved by both the state Senate and Assembly in November, requires the cooperatives to have at least 5,000 members. The purchasing alliances will work to negotiate directly with health plans for insurance coverage, which could lead to better coverage, lower premiums and improved delivery, the governor said.