(KMOV) – Residents who depend on the Kenneth Hall Regional Hospital in East St. Louis for care are worried about the hospital’s future.
The Kenneth Hall Regional Hospital is the only hospital in East St. Louis, and in a matter of months, it could close its major operations, including its emergency room.
Most patients who visit the hospital do not have health insurance. And many of them say they cannot afford to travel elsewhere for medical care.
The slated closing of the hospital, specifically the emergency room, is a result of ongoing money problems.
In a statement, the owners of Kenneth Hall say the ER loses more than $2 million annually.
The hospital also wants to do away with the nearly 40 beds reserved for patients who have mental health issues.
The nearest hospital is Touchette Regional, which does have an ER and will include more beds. Touchette is about five miles away in Centreville. However, residents say getting there won’t be easy for everyone. “We have to find a way to get to another hospital. A lot of people, they don't have transportation or anything,” says resident Audrey Riggs. "You know, elderly people, disabled people, depend on this hospital."
The Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation, based in Centreville, owns both hospitals.
If Kenneth Hall closes, urgent care services would remain open, but the ER would be gone, which also means 100 employees would likely lose their jobs.
The foundation will likely take up the decision in May.