Streator council opposes OSF plan in Ottawa

Council votes 4-1 in opposition of plan, asks for expansion of its facility

An aerial view of OSF St. Elizabeth Hospital on Thursday, June 13, 2024 in Ottawa.

The Streator City Council joined Ottawa and Marseilles city councils, as well as the La Salle County Board, in opposing OSF’s plans to build a new hospital in Ottawa and move obstetrics and ICU services outside of the city.

The Streator City Council approved the resolution by a 4-1 vote on Wednesday, with David “Moose” Conner voting against the resolution.

Streator Mayor Tara Bedei said she was approached by Ottawa Mayor Robb Hasty asking if the council would consider the resolution. Bedei said the resolution is similar to Ottawa’s, but includes language asking for an expansion of health care services in Streator, which also is served by an OSF facility.

During the meeting, Bedei said Streator faced a similar issue about eight years ago when the majority of healthcare services moved from the city as HSHS requested permission to close the Streator facility, and OSF gained ownership. OSF now provides a standalone emergency room. The closest hospital to Streator, however, is the one in Ottawa.

“This will undoubtedly impact Streator citizens, and several other communities in La Salle County,” Bedei said.

Under the OSF plan, Ottawa will lose all five ICU beds and all 14 obstetric delivery beds. Obstetrics and ICU services will move to Peru, which OSF said is a centralized location for communities west of La Salle-Peru, also served in the region. The plan will reduce Ottawa’s medical/surgical beds from 54 to 12.

Bedei is pushing for an expansion of health care services in Streator, especially if the hospital in Ottawa ends up transitioning its services. She is not asking for any specific services, but anything to expand on what already is offered with the standalone ER. From Streator City Hall to OSF St. Elizabeth in Ottawa is about 17.5 miles and Streator City Hall to OSF St. Elizabeth in Peru is about 28 miles, according to Google.

“Anything that would help our citizens is what I’m looking for here,” Bedei said. “I’m thankful for what we have but it doesn’t hurt to ask for more.”

Bedei emphasized she does not want to seem “anti-OSF” and acknowledged that there are many good people who live in the community and work at local OSF facilities. Nonetheless, she believes that this situation will make things more difficult for Streator residents, and the council is willing to stand up for them.

“There is strength in numbers, and banding together with our neighboring communities may make a difference.”

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