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By ALAN J. ORTBALS
    2018 was a dynamic year for HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon, winning awards in quality and safety, expanding services and announcing a new radiation oncology clinic to be built this year.
    Recently, St. Elizabeth’s was nationally recognized for patient safety by earning an A rating in the Fall 2018 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade.
    “Our top focus is always on patient care, quality and safety so we are very proud of our A safety rating and the many other accreditations and awards,” said Patti Fischer, St. Elizabeth’s president and CEO. “We spent the last year improving operational efficiencies in our new location to optimize safety and the overall patient experience,”
    A new amenity recently added for patients is valet parking at the 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 added.
    Cardiovascular services at St. Elizabeth’s, in partnership with Prairie Heart and Vascular Institute, add envelope-pushing technologies and new procedures to continue to lead the region in heart care, including TAVR (trans aortic valve replacement). 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 physicians,” 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.”
    Prairie also brought the world’s smallest pacemaker, the Micra TPS, and the Cardio-MEMS monitoring system for heart failure patients to the region over the past year.
    And just last month, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and its parent company Hospital Sisters Health System announced that they received approval from the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board to lease space for a radiation oncology clinic near the hospital.
    St. Elizabeth’s services will offer patients access to personalized cancer care all in one convenient location. Technologies and treatment techniques will include a linear accelerator and CT-simulator, intensity modulated radiation therapy, image-guided radiation therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotactic body radiotherapy.
    “This comprehensive and multidisciplinary patient-centered recognition, coupled with the advanced radiation oncology services offered in the new building, will bring innovative treatment and experienced cancer specialists to the community,” Fischer said.
    “I am extremely proud of the many accomplishments we’ve achieved together over the past year since the new facility opened, and we will continue to deliver the difference in health care through our quality, mission-driven care in 2019,” Fischer concluded.