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Harrisburg Medical Center's board votes to join SIH
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Harrisburg Medical Center's board votes to join SIH

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HARRISBURG — The Board of Directors of Harrisburg Medical Center has voted in favor of joining SIH, pending approval from the Illinois Health Facilities Services and Review Board.

This outcome is the result of 16 months of discussions and due diligence as both entities explored a mutually beneficial relationship, according to a news release.

The organizations believe the enhanced affiliation will strengthen their existing relationship and create pathways to better meet the increasing clinical, financial and technological demands of delivering health care.

HMC and SIH have long collaborated in areas such as general surgery, urology, podiatry and primary care. In addition, HMC is part of the SIH STAT Heart program and telestroke network.

“For Harrisburg Medical Center, this will allow a greater level of collaboration,” Don Hutson, president and CEO of Harrisburg Medical Center, said.

He explained patients will continue to receive outstanding care from the same physicians they have come to know and trust over the years.

This new partnership will give patients more clinical services close to home.

Hutson said it will also improve the flow of information between the two organizations — improving the quality of care, safety of patients and patient satisfaction.

HMC has been formally affiliated with SIH since 2011 as part of a rural health network affiliation agreement.

“We’ve got a long history of working together through our rural health network affiliation,” Hutson said.

HMC will be able to take advantage of the expertise SIH has in compliance and planning.

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“The more we can develop to help Harrisburg keep patients at home and not come to Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, the better off the patients and their families are,” SIH President and CEO Rex Budde said.

He added that HMC already provides a nice level of care. SIH can help with specialists to round out that care.

“The transfer of patient information is critical,” Budde said. The SIH IT team will facilitate the integration of the EPIC system at HMC, which means patient information will be in the same system and accessible throughout SIH.

HMC has the only inpatient behavioral health services in the southernmost 16 counties of Illinois.

“Behavioral health is a crown jewel and adding its services to the mix is helpful,” Budde said. “The need for services seems to be almost unending.”

He sees the potential for working together to form a better mental health program.

Under the proposed agreement, HMC would continue to maintain an independent board of directors and foundation.

Budde said approval of the agreement by the state could take as little as 30 days in the best case scenario, or as long as 90 days.

Harrisburg Medical Center is a 71-bed non-profit 501(c)(3) community hospital serving Saline, Gallatin, Hardin, Pope, White and Williamson counties in southeastern Illinois. The center, which employs 450 people, is home to the only inpatient behavioral health program in the southernmost 16 counties.

HMC also operates primary care and behavioral health clinics in Eldorado, Harrisburg and Marion, a surgical services clinic and two on-site clinics at mines in Williamson and Hamilton counties.

Carbondale-based SIH is a not-for-profit health system serving the southernmost counties of Illinois with three hospitals, a comprehensive cancer center, Level II Trauma Center and more than 30 outpatient and specialty practices. The organization also is home to one of the busiest labor and delivery programs in Illinois south of Peoria with over 2,200 births in 2020.

Recognized for quality outcomes in cardiac, stroke, bariatric, rehabilitation and cancer care, SIH holds affiliations with renowned peers such as the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formerly Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago), Prairie Heart Institute, SIU School of Medicine Family Practice Residency Program, Siteman Cancer Network and the BJC Collaborative.

SIH is the region’s second largest employer with 4,000 employees and the largest provider of charity care, unreimbursed care and community benefits.

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