Peru’s only hospital to temporarily close next week

Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 9:36 PM CST
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PERU (25 News Now) - St. Margaret’s Health plans to close Peru’s only hospital next week, prompting concern from the city’s mayor about reduced health care services for the entire Illinois Valley Region.

25 News obtained a letter St. Margaret Health executives sent to employees announcing the temporary closure effective 7 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28.

The letter says the hospital’s current provider of physicians terminated its contract and St. Margaret’s can’t find or financially support a new emergency room provider.

In addition, the letter said there’s not enough staff to operate the hospital in Peru and St. Margaret Health’s other hospital a few miles away in Spring Valley.

The letter blames COVID, a cyber-attack preventing timely billing, staffing shortages, and other rising costs.

Peru Mayor Ken Kolowski told 25 News that years ago the hospital was one of the city’s largest employers with a workforce of 300 to 400 people. Due to consolidation, he said less than 100 people work there. The LaSalle County city has a population of almost 10,000 people.

In a message to the community, posted on St. Margaret’s website, President and Chief Executive Officer Tim Muntz indicated the facility might reopen as a Rural Emergency Hospital (REH) under a federal program to reduce the number of rural hospitals closing nationwide.

Letter to employees from St. Margaret's Health about temporary closing of the Peru hospital.
Letter to employees from St. Margaret's Health about temporary closing of the Peru hospital.(25 News Now)

25 News reached out Friday night to a St. Margaret’s Health spokesperson for comment. The mayor said the hospital has kept city leaders in the dark about its plans.

He urged the community to be patient even though he described the hospital’s plans as “shocking” and “upsetting.”