GALESBURG, Ill. — The sudden "temporary" closure of Galesburg Cottage Hospital on Saturday, Jan. 8 left many without a medical provider. To help those seeking to transfer care, OSF Healthcare St. Mary Medical Center in Galesburg has devoted a phone line for calls from former Cottage patients.
The hotline number is 309-344-9438, and the line will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, according to a Thursday, Jan. 13 release from OSF HealthCare. Callers dialing in during off-hours can leave a voicemail that will later be returned.
“We know this is a time of high anxiety for Cottage Hospital and Clinic patients, and frankly, the entire region,” St. Mary Medical Center President Lisa DeKezel said in the release. "We are doing our best to manage the questions, some of which we are clarifying daily."
According to OSF, the hotline will give former Cottage patients the opportunity to ask questions regarding next steps for receiving immediate care or connecting with a new OSF provider for ongoing care.
Although the Cottage Hospital closure seemed overnight for some, DeKezel said the medical center has been preparing for over two years to become the area's sole medical provider and accepting Cottage patients for emergencies, procedures, surgeries and ICU care at an accelerated rate for the last six to eight months.
"We have stepped up our response with ongoing hiring, in addition to infrastructure improvements that have already occurred and others that are nearing completion," DeKezel said in the release. "These steps allow (OSF) … to be the sustainable source for health care in the region.”
According to the release, St. Mary leadership will continue to evaluate community needs and recruit more providers as needed to fill the care gaps left behind by the Cottage closure.