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Letters to the Editor

Foundation chairwoman addresses hospital issues

Recently there has been a considerable amount of discussion in the community and social media regarding the publicized loss of $3.4 million in revenue at Perry Memorial Hospital, the ongoing negotiations with OSF, and the wisdom of constructing a new Family Health Clinic.

While no loss is ever pleasant, when put into perspective, the loss amounts to a single day’s operational funds. Health care financing and reimbursement is complex. The staff and leadership are taking comprehensive steps to adjust and maximize future revenue.

Perry has always made an effort to stay ahead of the curve of health care. Discussions with OSF are motivated entirely by the challenges facing rural health care, and the desire to ensure quality area health care will always be available to our friends, family and neighbors of our communities.

The rural health care landscape is changing from servicing ill patients to prevention and the education of healthy wellness habits. In Perry’s service area, heart and colon, rectum and prostate cancers are the leading cause of death, while obesity and high blood pressure remains higher than the state average. Mental health needs are growing, and psychiatrists and mental health professionals are scarce.

The Perry Memorial Family Clinic has been working to offset the limited resources by adding telehealth with psychiatry and has added a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) to offer counseling for all levels and all ages needing mental health care.

Over the past five years, the Perry Memorial Family Health Clinic has actively recruited physicians and nurse practitioners to meet our communities’ future health needs and increase access to primary care. The team of four providers in 2014 has grown to 10 in 2019, including two internists.

The new Family Health Clinic facility is a necessary expenditure, which became possible after the debt from the 2005 renovation was recently paid off.

The clinic was planned before OSF discussions began and before the financial loss was discovered. The current Family Health Clinic accommodations are bursting at the seams due to more people being proactive about their health.

The new facility provides additional room and better access for patients. Relocating our surgery clinics to the third floor will allow our orthopedic, podiatry and general surgery clinics to work cohesively for better care.

The new Family Health Clinic building is at the heart of primary care for residents of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam counties. The 15,000-square-foot space is handicap accessible and designed to provide care teams with the physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and support staff working together for positive healthy outcomes.

Over the past 100 years, the availability of local health care through Perry has helped bring about the strong community we have today. It is imperative to continue to provide and improve primary care for the future generations of families, children and grandchildren.

The Perry Memorial Hospital Foundation’s goal is to enhance the quality of life through philanthropy. Help us make a difference in the life and health of our neighbors and generations to come. Consider a donation to our Living Legacy Perry Memorial Family Health Clinic Campaign.

Sue Spratt, Princeton

Note to readers: Sue Spratt is chairwoman of the Perry Memorial Hospital Foundation.

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