HOOPESTON — The Hoopeston Regional Health Center and its branch clinics are now part of the Carle health system.
State regulators approved Carle's $2.7 million acquisition of the 24-bed hospital in Hoopeston and clinics in Cissna Park, Hoopeston, Rossville and Watseka in July, and the facilities were integrated into the Carle system Thursday.
The name has been adjusted slightly to the Carle Hoopeston Regional Health Center, and the Carle name has also been added to the clinics.
Hoopeston health system CEO Harry Brockus is remaining in place and the local health system board will continue to govern the system's operation, with some oversight from Carle's board on major decisions, Brockus said.
The 224 hospital and clinic employees remain on the job with the transition, he said.
What's new, according to Carle and Hoopeston hospital officials:
— Hoopeston patients' medical records are now in the Carle electronic medical record system and those patients will soon be able to access their own records through a Carle patient portal.
— More medical providers and services are available in Hoopeston. More than 60 Carle specialists are delivering or helping deliver care to Hoopeston patients.
Brockus said those new specialties and services are much needed in Hoopeston to shorten the travel time and speed up the diagnosis for patients in the rural area.
For example, he said, stress tests for cardiology patients, formerly unavailable in Hoopeston, were added this past March.
Digital mammography has also been added, he said. Once, women coming in for mammograms, even those who had found lumps in their breasts, had to wait five days for results.
Now experts at Carle's Mills Breast Cancer Institute can read screening results remotely and confer on the phone the same day, and a faster care plan can be developed, he said.
"That makes people a lot more comfortable," he added.
Some things to note, according to an announcement about the integration:
The Hoopeston health system will continue to accept AARP, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Beechstreet, Cigna, Health Alliance Medical Plans, HealthLink, Humana, Medicaid, Medicare, Medicare HMOs, MultiPlan, Personal Care, PHCS, Sage Technologies and United Health Care insurance.
There's a new billing system, so Hoopeston patients are advised to arrive 15 minutes early for appointments and bring insurance cards to be sure information on file is up to date.