MT. VERNON — Gov. Pat Quinn announced $5.1 million in investments to hospitals across Southern Illinois — 28 in all — as part of $24.3 million set aside this fiscal year in the Illinois Jobs Now capital construction program.
“It’s important for Southern Illinois hospitals to take good care of all of our people. We want to make sure we put health care as our top priority,” Quinn said during a news conference Thursday at Good Sam’s surgical center. “These investments will create good construction jobs while helping Southern Illinois hospitals provide better service and treatment to their patients.”
Quinn added, “We have to have 21st Century medicine in Illinois. We’ve got to make sure these hospitals get these resources necessary that they can invest … that’s what these capital grants are all about.”
Good Samaritan Regional Health Center received $257,750 for an operating room integration system.
Mike Warren, president of Good Sam, said the integration system is being used in all six surgical units that simplifies often complex operating functions.
“The system provides a simple, single point of control to route all of our images, video, our data, our lighting, and our audio that a surgical team needs. The system has improved timeliness of procedures and patient safety, and it did so by providing an organized and systematic environment to complete surgical interventions,” Warren said.
Funds received for St. Mary’s Hospital in Centralia are being used to update radiology and nuclear medicine equipment.
“This equipment, which is used for a wide range of diagnostic testing, is integral to the care provided by St. Mary’s Hospital to the community,” Warren said. “Grants like this truly make health care better and safer for our patients.”
In addition to Good Samaritan, area hospitals receiving grant money include: Franklin Hospital in Benton, $176,345 to replace the water plumbing system; Hamilton Memorial Hospital in McLeansboro, $176,120 for a new fire suppression system and loading dock; Salem Township Hospital, $176,142 to renovate clinical space for a rural health center; Marshall-Browning Hospital in Du Quoin, $172,407 for equipment and HVAC upgrades; Pinckeyville Community Hospital, $172,520 for roof replacement and a new fuel backup system; Washington County Hospital in Nashville, $173,510 to construct a storage building and IT server room; and Fairfield Memorial Hospital, $183,680 for a new generator.
“These men and women here have dedicated their lives to one of the most important missions here on earth: to make sure we have decent health care for everyone,” Quinn said of the hospital representatives.
“It is an honor for me to be representing seven other communities in the southern part of the state today,” said Mayor Mary Jane Chesley, who introduced the governor. She thanked the current administration for funding for the new interstate interchange at Veterans Memorial Drive, which allowed for business expansion in the area, including Good Samaritan Regional Health Center, and for funding the South Davidson extension at Veterans Memorial Drive.
“We appreciate the confidence you have in the city of Mt. Vernon and the region of Southern Illinois to bring jobs, and retail, commercial and residential to this area,” Chesley said.
Quinn noted when he became governor in 2009, there had not been a Public Works bill approved for a decade, but a bill passed 10 weeks later.
“One of the things we got done as a result of that is this Veterans Memorial Drive. It’s a very good name for this important road — a new interchange off of the big road (Interstate 57) — which we’re widening here because we understand people have to get to the hospital, have to get to work, school and recreation, and we want to make sure they do it in a safe way,” Quinn said.