To The Herald-Whig:
I add my voice and perspective to those of Fr. Donald Blickhan, shared in his June 28 letter to the editor.
St. Mary Hospital played a vital role in the life of the Quincy region for 125 years, and choice is important.
By the 1990s, some very forward-thinking leaders in Quincy -- the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, Blessing administrators and board members of both hospitals -- recognized market forces were changing the health care landscape.
Consolidation was required if the region was to maintain local access to high-quality health care. Statistics support their foresight. Between 1990 and 2016, the number of hospitals closed across the country totaled more than 1,100.
Hospitals continue to close, yet Blessing -- a strong, nationally recognized hospital -- continues to serve our region.
The decision to consolidate also ultimately saved the hospital serving the Pike County, Ill., region -- Illini Community Hospital.
Caregivers at St. Mary went on to provide care at Blessing and continue to do so. A story in the June 23 Herald-Whig featured Linda Berry and Nancy Friye, two St. Mary Hospital caregivers who shared their talents with Blessing Hospital for many years after consolidation. They, and many other current employees and volunteers, continue to hold the mission of St. Mary Hospital close to their hearts.
Focus on faith is an important element of Blessing care. The hospital's award-winning volunteer chaplain staff, comprised of representatives of many denominations, proudly delivers care to support the spiritual needs of Blessing patients and their loved ones.
The hospital's mission, "To improve the health of our communities," is the aim of every decision made at Blessing.
As a nonprofit, community-based hospital, every resident of this region owns Blessing Hospital. The goal of each decision made by those honored to work at Blessing is to deliver the services required to allow residents access to quality care, delivered with compassion and respect, without leaving their home region. We are proud of partnerships formed with other providers to achieve our goal and mission.
Among the health care choices you have today is to work with me and the other Blessing Hospital team members, by making suggestions to continually improve the care available to you and your loved ones.
Blessing Hospital is your hospital. Thank you for your support.
Maureen A. Kahn
President and chief executive officer
Blessing Health System/Blessing Hospital