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Illini Community Hospital celebrates 80th anniversary

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 4:50 PM CST
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PITTSFIELD, Ill. (WGEM) - More than 80 people gathered at Tuesday at Illini Community Hospital to celebrate the facility’s 80th anniversary.

Blessing Health System Chief of Small Rural Hospitals Kathy Hull said the hospital has overcome financial battles, such as almost facing bankruptcy in 1999. They then joined Blessing Health System and have since expanded specialty care in the rural communities they serve.

Hull said they also expanded transportation options for patients as traveling for health care in rural areas is top of mind.

“I think we owe this community,” Hull said. “80 years ago they took a real chance on us. They invested their hard earned money, their time and formed this facility and we owe that debt back to this community.”

Carolyn Casteel lives in Pittsfield and said she remembers a time when the community didn’t have health care options so close to home.

“I remember when they were trying to get money to get started with the hospital,” Casteel said.

She said at the time her parents were farmers and gave what they could to help build what now stands as a hospital that serves several rural communities in the Tri-States.

“I look out my kitchen window and see it from where I live, and I like that feeling,” she said

Illini Community Hospital Administrative Director of Nursing Susan Chenoweth said they now offer several specialty cares they didn’t have decades ago, allowing the hospital to be able to care for patients right here in this community, so they don’t have to travel far to get the care they need.

“Urology just started here not very long ago and their clinics are full, our ENT clinics are full,” Chenoweth said. “So people really love not having to travel.”

Chenoweth said they want to focus on expanding outpatient care now as they battle a pandemic.

“So I think as we look forward to the future, you know trying to keep people out of the hospital and being proactive about that is really important,” she said.

Casteel said its a blessing for this community to have a health care system that cares for them.

“You have lots of comfort because you know the people who work there,” Casteel said. “They live in the community just like we do.”

Hospital administrators not only celebrated their anniversary Tuesday, they were also awarded the 2021 Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center’s Silver Award for Excellence.

An IMEC spokesperson said only two were given in 2021 and the award recognizes and evaluates the process of how the hospital operates.

Hull said continuing to find the needs of their patients and making a way to meet them is what will keep them progressing forward for the next 80 years.

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