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OSF HealthCare Strategic Marketing Manager Brianne Riley shows an artist's rendering in October of what the exterior of OSF HealthCare Center for Health-Streator will look like following a $30.5 million renovation. Exterior work on the front of the building begins Monday.

PAUL SWIECH, PANTAGRAPH FILE PHOTO

STREATOR — The 24/7 emergency center in OSF HealthCare Center for Health-Streator will be able to handle more advanced life support (ALS) patients after approval by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

IDPH has OK'd the emergency center handling more ALS patients, effective 9 a.m. Tuesday, OSF HealthCare announced Friday.

"We serve patients and families during their most vulnerable times and this is one more step toward reshaping and positively transforming health care for this community," said Ken Beutke, president of Center for Health-Streator and OSF HealthCare Saint Elizabeth Medical Center in Ottawa.

The expansion allows the emergency center to accept ALS patients by ambulance. Examples of ALS patients are anyone on a cardiac monitor, patients with potential airway compromise and anyone with a complication.

State approval to care for ALS patients — and not just basic life support patients — took a while because the Center for Health operates the state's first rural freestanding emergency center.

The center is staffed with emergency medicine doctors and experienced emergency nursing staff. But patients who require the highest level of care would be transferred to an appropriate hospital.

Peoria-based OSF HealthCare took over the former St. Mary's Hospital building, 111 Spring St., after the Springfield-based Hospital Sisters Health System closed St. Mary's in January 2016. That closure decision devastated Streator, a community of 13,800 people more than an hour northeast of Bloomington-Normal.

OSF opened Center for Health, an outpatient center, in the former hospital building, with services including the emergency center, rehabilitation services, diagnostic imaging, lab services, primary and specialty physician offices, occupational health and community education.

OSF also is trying to attract other health and human services agencies to the center to develop it into community wellness headquarters. So far, LaSalle County Health Department, American Cancer Society Patient Resource Center and North Central Behavioral Health have signed on.

Plans, unveiled in October, call for a $30.5 million exterior and interior renovation. Work will begin in January and will be complete in July 2019, Beutke said.

Follow Paul Swiech on Twitter: @pg_swiech

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Health Reporter

Health reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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