PRINCETON — The health care industry is changing, and health care systems, including Perry Memorial Hospital, are evaluating how to address their sustainability and growth.

One path that has proved successful for several independent facilities across the country is to explore partnerships with other health care providers, according to Annette Schnabel, president and CEO of Perry.

“With many partnerships, patients in smaller rural communities continue to work with their primary care providers whom they know and love yet can be more easily referred to other partners and facilities when needed,” Schnabel stated in a news release.

“Emergency departments continue to save lives locally, while patients gain access to more services regionally through the partnership, according to their personal health care needs,” she said.

Larger health care groups see the value in partnering with smaller rural hospitals and providers. Organizing health care for both the short term and the long term is a factor when patients as consumers choose a primary care provider.

According to the news release, convenience of primary care and options for complex treatments will continue to be a major decision factor as the consumer makes choices for their health care.

“Our mutual goal is for patients to continue to receive quality health care at local health care facilities, while having the opportunity to access specialty providers and larger facilities when needed,” Bob Sehring, CEO of OSF Healthcare, stated.

“Collaboration and improved technology, including use of telehealth services, allows consumers to choose options that are both convenient and high quality,” Sehring said.

As health care costs continue to increase, the challenge for health care facilities, particularly those in rural communities, is how to continue to provide quality patient care amid the ever-growing burden of increasing costs. Integrating clinical care and support services enables the small hospitals to address cost inefficiencies while increasing or maintaining quality care.

With all this in mind, Perry Memorial’s management and board of directors began a strategic planning process in July 2018. Perry received a grant from the state of Illinois to evaluate and identify the transformation necessary for Perry to be an ongoing provider for its community into the future.

Using the grant funds, Perry hired Kaufman Hall, a national health care consulting and planning organization, to educate management and the board about health care trends.

The board’s commitment, as its members began their educational process with Kauffman Hall, included doing their own research and participating in comprehensive group conversations on how to provide Princeton, and Perry’s multi-county service area, with local quality health care well into the future.

This process brought board members to look at potential options for Perry Memorial Hospital.

Community members are invited to submit questions about those potential options and help shape subsequent updates at perrymemorial.org/osfrelationshipquestions.

About Perry Memorial Hospital

Perry Memorial Hospital is a municipally owned, 25-bed critical access facility. With a workforce of more than 370 people, Perry Memorial is one of Bureau County’s largest employers. June 17, 2020, will mark the hospital’s centennial celebration representing 100 years of providing health care services.

About OSF HealthCare

OSF HealthCare is an integrated health system owned and operated by The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, headquartered in Peoria. OSF HealthCare employs more than 23,600 mission partners (employees) in 147 locations, including 14 hospitals — 10 acute care, four critical access — and two colleges of nursing. Its physician network employs more than 1,500 primary care, specialist physicians, and advanced practice providers.

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Bureau County