Yednock, Rezin encourage talks between OSF, Ottawa on hospital plans

Legislators believe health care is moving in right direction, support new Ottawa hospital

State Rep. Lance Yednock, D-Ottawa, (left) answers questions on stage with state Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, during the Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce's legislative luncheon Thursday, June 20, 2024, at the Ballroom in La Salle.

State Rep. Lance Yednock, D-Ottawa, and state Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, said Thursday they believe the city of Ottawa and OSF should work together on the health care plan for the region.

And Ottawa officials have been in talks with OSF.

Yednock added, however, that doesn’t mean Ottawa and its residents are going to get everything they want.

“In negotiations, you never get 100% of what you want,” Yednock said. " ... There needs to be an ongoing conversation.”

Yednock and Rezin answered a question Thursday about OSF’s regional plans during the Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce’s legislative luncheon.

After an announcement OSF would build a roughly $110-120 million hospital in Ottawa, the Ottawa City Council issued a resolution against the plan, pointing out there would be a loss of some services, including a reduction of medical/surgical beds from 54 to 12 and the elimination of intensive care unit beds.

Yednock said Ottawa should support a new facility, because it shows a commitment from OSF to provide health care in the region. A little more than a year ago, Yednock said he was asking for support from the state to keep a hospital open in Spring Valley or Peru – after Peru closed in January 2023 and Spring Valley in June 2023 – and struck out on state funding, further noting no other hospital agency wanted to take the gamble of building a $150 million facility in the region.

Rezin said more than a year ago, Spring Valley’s and Peru’s hospitals closed creating a health care dessert in western La Salle and easter Bureau counties that resulted in cases of a backed up emergency room in Ottawa with patients waiting in ambulances.

Rezin advocated for Ottawa officials and OSF to work together, but believes health care is moving in an adequate direction for the region.

Yednock agreed saying he believed the situation was going to get better, not worse, under OSF’s proposal. He commended residents who voiced their opinions during a recent public hearing of the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, saying it was important for OSF to hear from them.

Both legislators acknowledged the challenges of rural health care and the changes at hospitals in recent years. Yednock said not as many beds are needed as years ago, because of the growth of outpatient services. He also added the hospital’s plan has to be sustainable.

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