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Blessing Health to close Keokuk hospital

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Blessing Hospital in Keokuk will close on Oct. 1 due to consistently low demand for inpatient and emergency services.

Its 147 employees will remain on staff until Nov. 4 for on-site work or will be put on administrative leave.

The 49-bed hospital was acquired by Blessing in March 2021 but has been in financial crisis for a decade, according to a news release from the hospital system.

Patients have thus developed new habits for where they receive inpatient health care, leading to an average of two inpatients per day and less than one emergency room visit per hour.

There are also issues with the building itself, according to a recent architectural study. The facility needs renovations and new infrastructure that could cost millions of dollars.

Hospital leaders said that work is not feasible given the current and expected inpatient use of the facility.

Human resources representatives will help those losing jobs apply for other positions in the health system, and the hospital property will be put up for sale.

After the hospital closes, those needing emergency care will need to call 911 so Lee County EMS can provide transport to the nearest emergency room in Carthage, Quincy, or Burlington.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Jane Carlson covers west central Illinois and southeast Iowa for Tri States Public Radio.