DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — HSHS leaders say changes are expected at St. Mary’s Hospital.

The hospital plans to discontinue several services including obstetrics, its newborn nursery, advanced inpatient rehabilitation and inpatient behavioral health services. A spokesperson says pediatrics will also be officially discontinued, although the hospital has not had pediatric beds in years.

Hospital officials say they’re making the changes to modernize after evaluating current processes. They say the healthcare landscape is difficult due to the pandemic’s lingering effects, lagging patient volumes, rising labor costs and an uncertain economy.

St. Mary’s needs approval from the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board (HFSRB) to discontinue services. An application will be submitted this month, although a final decision might not come until March or later.

HSHS is looking at how to transition impacted employees to other roles. In a news release, officials say, “We sincerely hope to retain these compassionate and caring professionals within our system. If these service discontinuation requests are approved by the state, patients who may be impacted will be directly notified in coming months.”

St. Mary’s President and CEO, Theresa Rutherford, says the hospital intends to stay in Decatur for decades to come. More than 20 other patient services at St. Mary’s are available to serve patients in their Macon County communities for other medical needs.

The changes don’t stop with the planned discontinuation of services.

“As a second phase to St. Mary’s modernization plan, HSHS plans to invest approximately $90 million for a major infrastructure renovation of the current facility to update clinical spaces, improve patient room amenities, and update safety compliance issues throughout the care environment of the campus,” said Rutherford. “We look forward to sharing more information
about this project in the future.”