Sarah Bush Lincoln Fayette County Hospital is now fully owned by Sarah Bush Lincoln.
The Circuit Court of Fayette County held a public hearing on Wednesday, and following no objections, approved the acquisition of the Fayette County Hospital Building by Sarah Bush Lincoln. Ultimately, this will lead to the discontinuation of $550,000 (beginning in 2023) in annual property taxes paid by the residents of Fayette County for the hospital. This action paved the way for Sarah Bush Lincoln to fully own the local hospital following the signing of the agreements to transfer the assets on Thursday.
The Fayette County Hospital District Board unanimously voted at its meeting on February 28 in favor of transferring ownership of the hospital to Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center. The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board approved transfer of ownership in March.
SBL President & CEO Jerry Esker said, “We’ve had operational ownership of Fayette County Hospital for almost three years, and in that time, we have become very familiar with the community and understand its medical needs. We have already made investments in the hospital and have several other capital projects on the docket for fiscal year ’23 and ’24 for both the hospital and the long-term care facility.”
He explained that among the improvements are construction of a medical office building, renovation of the medical-surgical nursing unit, replacement of generators, improvement in the computer system, upgrades in medical equipment and enhanced employee wages and benefits. “Employees will receive a general wage increase, while a significant number of employees will also receive market wage increases to bring their salaries in line with like hospitals,” Esker explained.
In the agreement, Sarah Bush Lincoln placed $15 million in a trust fund, while Fayette County Hospital District Board placed its funds of approximately $4.8 million in the same fund. SBL Chief Financial Officer Dennis Pluard explained that with the nearly $20 million, improvements would be made in the hospital and long-term care in the next two to three years. Thereafter, Sarah Bush Lincoln will invest a minimum of an additional $1 million a year for five consecutive years for other needed capital improvements.
Esker added that Sarah Bush Lincoln is appreciative of the work and dedication of the Fayette County Hospital District Board which had oversight of the hospital. “The board members really care about what is in the best interest of the community and its health. Their job was not an easy job, but they all took it very seriously and showed great ownership and stewardship of the organization.”
Fayette County Hospital District Board chairperson Doug Knebel said, “We have worked with Sarah Bush Lincoln for three years and it has done everything it promised to do and more for our hospital and long-term care. I know that our local healthcare is in good hands. The entire board is excited for this change of ownership and what it means for our community. I was honored to serve on the Board with a group of individuals who displayed a deep passion for the Hospital and desire to provide quality healthcare for the citizens of Fayette County. I thank them for their service.”