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By RANDY SCHORFHEIDE
p13 SaintJoeAn exterior of HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland.    When a child reaches his/her second birthday, some commonly refer to this time as going through the “terrible twos.”
    That cannot be said about the new HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital (Highland) as patient volumes continue to grow for the second straight year — reinforcing hospital leadership’s vision first shared when the new facility project was made public.
    “From the moment we announced that a new St. Joseph’s Hospital was going to be a reality more than four years ago, we promised local residents that they would have access to a hospital campus providing advanced technologies in a state-of-the-art facility that they would be proud to call their own,” Peggy A. Sebastian, president and CEO, says. “The new St. Joseph’s Hospital was designed to emphasize healing and wellness with a focus on outpatient treatment and therapy – and that’s exactly what we’ve seen since moving in on Day 1.”
    For example, since moving to the new St. Joseph’s Hospital campus in 2013, inpatient admissions have increased 20 percent; outpatient registrations/procedures have grown by 19 percent; surgical procedures climbed 12 percent; and emergency room visits have risen by 35 percent.
    “When the first two Hospital Sisters of The Third Order of St. Francis began their health-care ministry here in Highland back in January 1878, they went from house-to-house revealing Christ’s healing presence to those who needed their care,” Sebastian said. “And from the first day of the very first St. Joseph’s Hospital facility opening on Aug. 21, 1879, to now, Highland area residents have been coming to the Sisters’ ‘house’ for their health-care needs. The new St. Joseph’s Hospital continues to be a shining example of the commitment that the Sisters’ have to local residents in continuing their health care mission.”
    And just as “Year 1” had its share of highlights and successes, “Year 2” of the new St. Joseph’s Hospital saw new services, physicians and accomplishments showcasing efforts to secure its mission and remain the health-care provider of choice for local residents.
    St. Joseph’s Hospital continued to enhance its physician-related services by welcoming new doctors and introducing a new hospitalist program.
    Another physician-related investment made during “Year 2” was the addition of a Hospitalist Physician Service in September 2014. Partnering with the HSHS Medical Group to implement this new service, individuals admitted to the Inpatient Services Department at St. Joseph’s Hospital now have a dedicated physician 24 hours a day, seven days a week. By focusing their practice on the care of hospitalized patients, the hospitalist can gain a great insight in the unique aspects of patients’ needs during their hospital stay.
    In January 2015, St. Joseph’s Hospital had a “birth announcement” introducing support to local “moms-to-be” with their upcoming deliveries. The new “Maternity Onto Motherhood” women’s health service enhances care and prepares expectant mothers for the arrival of their newest bundle of joy. St. Joseph’s Hospital (Highland) partners with its sister hospital HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese in providing Highland area expectant mothers with quality care for mom and baby. All pre-natal visits are provided in Highland with an option for delivery at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese. Among the services that the new “Maternity Onto Motherhood” (MOM) program provides include breastfeeding consulting, “Getting to Know Your Newborn” classes, and fetal non-stress testing.
    In addition to offering new or enhanced clinical care services, St. Joseph’s Hospital was recognized for its high-quality Franciscan healing ministry by:
    - receiving a Top Performer on Key Quality Measure  award from The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health-care organizations in the United States.
    - being awarded “Emergent Stroke Ready Hospital” designation by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
    - becoming one of only 251 hospitals nationwide to earn five stars (out of five) in a new rating system coordinated by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
    - recognition as a leader in environmentally preferable health-care practices for the sixth consecutive year with the “Greenhealth Partner for Change” Award presented by Practice Greenhealth,
    “We must always continue to improve and introduce new services,” Sebastian says. “Having a new hospital facility gives us the ability to do more – and introduce new amenities — now and in the future.”