An Illinois state regulatory board has voted unanimously to approve plans to build a new hospital in O'Fallon, capping a nearly eight-month battle between two Belleville hospitals.
Memorial Hospital has been a staunch opponent of St. Elizabeth's Hospital's proposal to build a 144-bed hospital in O'Fallon to replace its aging 303-bed hospital in Belleville. St. Elizabeth's, a part of Springfield, Ill.-based Hospital Sisters Health System, said it needs a more modern facility with space for expanded ambulatory care.
Memorial, however, has argued that a new hospital in O'Fallon would constitute an unnecessary and unfair duplication of services when built after its soon-to-be-complete Memorial East Hospital in the nearby village of Shiloh. Plus, the hospital says the move would limit access for the high-acuity, vulnerable population that St. Elizabeth's currently serves in downtown Belleville.
The board voted 4-1 to approve a certificate of need for St. Elizabeth's move in January, but three board members were absent. The hospital needed five “yes” votes to gain approval, a threshold it surpassed this time with eight board members in attendance Tuesday, according to the Belleville News-Democrat.