Illinois hospital closes

St. Margaret's Health-Peru (Ill.) closed Jan. 28 after the system's CEO and chair of the board detailed plans Jan. 20 to temporarily shutter the hospital, Shaw Local News Network reported Jan. 28.    

Nurses from the OB-GYN department left their final shift with signs made in protest of the closure, according to the report. One sign read "C.E.O = CUT EVERYONE OUT." Most employees said they heard about the closure announcement either through Facebook or local media. 

The system's plan is to reopen the hospital once a rural emergency hospital designation is finalized, but the hospital will need to reopen before it can qualify, according to the report. 

St. Margaret's Spring Valley, Ill., location will remain open. 

The closure occurred after the hospital's contract with the provider of emergency room physician coverage ended. This temporary closure includes acute hospital services such as the emergency room, intensive care unit, med-surg/peds, all surgeries, emergency, lab, X-ray and other outpatient hospital services. 

Leading up to the closure, the hospital apologized for how the news was announced. 

"Please know the true essence of St. Margaret's Health has always been, and still is, our employees and the citizens of the communities we serve. They are the most important assets we have, and without them, we cannot achieve our mission," the hospital wrote in a message posted on Facebook the afternoon of Jan. 26. "As such, we would like to apologize to our employees and the community for not delivering our announcement in the best way possible. It was never our intent to blindside any of our employees or the community with such a sensitive and life-impacting announcement. As we move forward, we are working to improve our communication (to both our internal employees and the community alike)."

The hospital cited various contributing factors involved in the move. These include financial and economic circumstances affecting the entire healthcare industry, as well as a recent cyberattack, which the hospital said prevented it from being able to bill or get paid in a timely way. St. Margaret's Health-Peru also cited severe staff shortages.

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