August 28, 2008

Visitors Praise Galena Medical Center


GALENA, Ill. - Steve Tenhouse looks at Midwest Medical Center and sees a possible future for his own small hospital."It is unbelievable, it is beautiful," Tenhouse said. "It is a great vision for what I would like to do in Monticello."Tenhouse, the chief executive officer of Kirby Hospital in Monticello, Ill., on Tuesday led a 29-member contingent of city officials, media members, chamber of commerce leaders and others on a visit to Galena's Midwest Medical Center.Monticello officials toured Galena's senior care community facility and the medical center as they planned for constructing their own replacement hospital."Our hospital is landlocked in a residential area," Tenhouse said. "Parking is almost impossible. Even if we added more services, we wouldn't have any place for them."Monticello officials were making their first site visit in anticipation of their own project.The $40 million, two- story and 93,000-square-foot Midwest Medical Center opened in December 2007 and replaced the 45-year-old Galena-Stauss Hospital on Summit Street."It's an honor to be able to share," said Jeff Hill, Midwest Medical Center's chief executive officer.Monticello is a community of 5,800 people located between Decatur and Champaign in Piatt County."We are a 16-bed, critical-access hospital," Tenhouse said. "We hope to break ground (on the replacement hospital) next summer."Resulting from the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, the critical- access designation ensures that such hospitals receive 101 percent of their costs associated with treating Medicare patients. The critical-access designation also provides cost-based reimbursement for some hospital equipment costs, personnel costs and interest and appreciation costs, making it easier to build a new facility."In order for us to survive, we need the growth," Tenhouse said. "We have always taken care of the people in Piatt County. They deserve a new hospital."Floyd Allsop, Monticello's superintendent of city services, toured Galena's facility with an eye toward civic requirements."This gives me a head start to see what would be the impact on the community," Allsop said. "I'll be looking at infrastructure needs. This is not a regular building project. This will be one of the biggest projects we've had for years."

Originally published by ERIK HOGSTROM TH staff writer/[email protected]

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