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OSF HealthCare is rebooting some former St. Margaret's Health facilities, but bankruptcy proceedings may delay hospital's revival

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OSF HealthCare's efforts to get the closed Peru hospital back up and running may be delayed by ongoing bankruptcy proceedings.

That's according to Dr. August Querciagrossa, the CEO for OSF's Western Region. He said it will take three to four months after acquisition of the hospital to get operations running again.

"It's making me a little uncomfortable to continue to say by end of year. We want to be done and open by the end of the year. But now that asset acquisition is really out of our control with the bankruptcy courts," he said.

The St. Margaret's Health campus in Peru closed abruptly back in January. Hospital leadership at the time claimed ongoing financial difficulties and staffing challenges had come to a breaking point. The health care system's Spring Valley hospital then closed in June, leaving the Illinois Valley with two fewer hospitals.

The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board approved the change of ownership for the Peru hospital last month. Querciagrossia said there are still some regulatory steps remaining, but the biggest challenge remains the asset acquisition.

"That is really the first point in the process. We're doing a lot of things behind the scenes right now," he said.

OSF HealthCare has gotten the Midtown Clinic and Midtown Plaza in Peru back up and running, as well as the Granville clinic in Putnam County. That includes primary care, prompt care, occupational medicine, and rehabilitation services. But other ambulatory clinics are still stuck in the legal system, he said.

Querciagrossa said about 400 former St. Margaret's employees have been hired by OSF HealthCare. They're working across the health system's Illinois Valley footprint in Princeton, Ottawa, Mendota, and Streator currently.

He said when Peru reopens as a second campus of OSF Saint Elizabeth Medical Center in Ottawa, it will still be a real hospital providing emergency care and other services. But he said maternal delivery services will remain in Ottawa.

"It takes so many resources to man that 24/7. Just think of the physicians alone to staff 24/7, 365. You know, that became a challenge, I think, across the Illinois Valley and, ultimately created challenges at the other two hospitals. So, for us in our sustainable model, we'll have one main campus for delivery. And right now, that's Ottawa," he said.

Querciagrossa did say OB/GYN office visits will hopefully return to Peru. He said he remains optimistic about the future of health care in the Illinois Valley moving forward.

"I feel pretty good about where we are with the great talent in the Illinois Valley," he said. "I think we still will struggle around the physicians, continuing to recruit. But now I think how we have this ecosystem evolving. I think it's a very attractive community, having grown up in the Illinois Valley. I mean, who wouldn't want to live there?"

Patients with questions are encouraged to call OSF HealthCare at 844-673-2778.

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.