Pivot point: Vast change in store for north county medical care

Proposals for new hospitals face fewer hurdles, promise to reshape local health-care delivery.

Second of two parts

It’s called “cream-skimming” and it’s alive and well in north county.

The “cream” is the bumper crop of well-off, fully insured retirees who call north county home.

The “skimming” is how the high-end medical practices and hospitals drawn to the area are grabbing their piece of the lucrative pie.

The result is a potential tipping point in medical care, pressuring traditional hospitals to fend off competition for physicians, nurses and, most of all, patients. 

The pieces are not in place yet but there’s a scramble for available land, physician groups and care centers that will shape north county’s medical delivery system for decades.

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Too many beds? Scaled-back Alton hospital slammed

No need for another hospital in north county, former Jupiter Medical Center exec John Couris says, as Alton hospital developer cuts proposal to 300 beds.

First of two parts

Seeking to win over neighbors opposed to a full-service hospital off Donald Ross Road in Alton, health-care giant Universal Health Services shaved its original plan for 450 beds to 300 and moved a proposed helipad farther from neighbors.

While opponents living in million-dollar Alton homes south of the hospital won’t publicly comment on the changes as negotiations with UHS are ongoing, questions still surround the need for a third full-service hospital in north county. 

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Anonymous website attacks Alton hospital

“WHAT THEY’RE PLANNING WILL RUIN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD!” Builder disputes claims. Neighbors say it didn’t come from them.

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Emergency vehicle sirens blaring 24/7. A 450-bed hospital plus more than 1 million square feet of medical office space, enough to fill six-and-a-half “super centers.” And 26,687 daily car trips coming to “our neighborhood.”

“THIS AFFECTS YOU!” screams the website SaveAlton.com, which is attacking UHS’ plans for a hospital on 32 acres in Alton near Donald Ross Road and Interstate 95. “WHAT THEY’RE PLANNING WILL RUIN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD!”

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