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p10 comboThe new HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and Patti Fischer, CEO, inset.By ALAN J. ORTBALS
    It’s been a year since HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital moved into its new facilities at Interstate 64 and North Green Mount Road in O’Fallon and not only did the move take place without a hitch, St. Elizabeth’s continues to grow services and has won awards for excellence along the way.
    In March, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois recognized HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital with a Blue Distinction Center+ for Maternity Care designation as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated hospitals that show expertise in delivering improved patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community.
    Last December the Joint Commission recognized HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital as a 2017 Pioneers in Quality Data Contributor for its advancements to electronic clinical quality measure (eCQM) data for quality improvement in health care. Until recently, most hospitals collected information to measure health care quality manually. By switching to eCOM, St. Elizabeth’s can now collect and transmit health record data electronically, improving the ability to analyze, measure and improve care processes, performance and outcomes.
    The Joint Commission is a nonprofit organization that accredits more than 21,000 U.S. health-care organizations and programs. It established the Pioneers in Quality program to assist and recognize hospitals that report eCQM data, as well as share best practices for all hospitals in gathering, analyzing and leveraging eCQM data for quality improvement. St. Elizabeth’s was one of only 480 institutions that were named 2017 Pioneers in Quality hospitals.
    And, in July 2017, St. Elizabeth’s was redesignated as an Emergent Stroke Ready Hospital by the Illinois Department of Public Health, a designation that carried through in stroke processes and high-level care at the new location. The hospital first achieved this designation in 2014 by implementing emergency stroke care policies and procedures to align with nationally recognized evidence-based standards and criteria, like those from the American Heart/Stroke Association and Brain Attack Coalition. The renewal is effective for three years.
    “We spent the last year improving operational efficiencies in our new location to optimize the patient experience,” said Patti Fischer, St. Elizabeth’s president and CEO. “Our top focus is always on patient care, quality and safety. A new amenity we recently added for our patients is valet parking at our Outpatient entrance and for those coming to appointments in the Health Center. It’s just another opportunity for us to assist patients, especially those who may have mobility issues, to safely and quickly get to their care area.”
    Fischer touted the hybrid cardiology care room, equipment and new procedures like TAVR (trans aortic valve replacement) that will be performed at the new hospital in the coming months. TAVR makes it possible to replace an aortic valve without opening the patient’s chest. In this minimally invasive procedure, a tube is simply inserted in the groin and routed to the aorta for the valve replacement.
    “We have a great open heart surgical program with excellent physician partners such as Prairie Heart and Vascular Institute and Cardiothoracic Surgery Associates,” Fischer said, “They are really top notch. So, it’s a really great service for the community to be able to have heart surgery right here and not have to travel across the river.”
    Other envelope pushing technologies St. Elizabeth’s and Prairie have brought to the region in past year include implanting the world’s smallest pacemaker, the Micra TPS, and introducing the CardioMEMS monitoring system for heart failure patients.
    Fischer said that the new hospital with its excellent visibility and easy accessibility has created a buzz in the region and has made it easier to recruit staff. It’s also increased business.
    “We have definitely seen an increase in our business for both in-patient and emergency room services,” Fischer said. “Both have been consistently above our historic averages.”
    With so much going on with the new hospital and medical office building in O’Fallon, St. Elizabeth’s has not forgotten about Belleville.
    Extensive work is going on in downtown Belleville as a host of services are up and running in St. Elizabeth’s Belleville Health Center. The campus includes the buildings across the street from the former hospital. HSHS is investing $8.1 million on the renovation of the Medical Arts Building and the Physician Office Building. In addition, $500,000 has been spent on new X-ray and 3D Mammography equipment. The Belleville Health Center offers a variety of physical and occupational therapies, imaging, lab services, primary care and convenient care clinics, a pregnancy care center, and private physician groups.
    The old hospital building is undergoing abatement and demolition is expected to be completed by mid-2019. When finished, approximately 22 acres of prime land close to the bustling Belleville Main Street business district and St. Clair County Courthouse will be available and ready for redevelopment.