Graham Health System making major investment in Galesburg
Graham Health System opened its first clinic in Galesburg last fall, months after the closure of Cottage Hospital and its affiliated clinics.
Now the Canton-based non-profit health system is opening a second Galesburg clinic soon and is making a major investment in the community with the construction of a third.
Graham Health System operates Graham Hospital in Canton and Graham Medical Group Clinics in other area communities.
CEO and President Bob Senneff said Cottage’s closure was the driving force behind Graham’s expansion into Galesburg, but they already had a presence in town.
“We have been in that market for a number of years. We had a specialty physician who practiced there under the umbrella of Cottage and that practice did very well for us,” Senneff said.
Senneff said he was aware when Cottage’s financial problems were worsening.
For instance, Graham’s physician there was not getting paid.
Senneff had conversations Cottage’s ownership at the time about Graham acquiring the hospital, but that did not move forward.
“It didn’t make sense for us at the time based on what was going on there,” Senneff said. “The physical structure was in really tough shape so it would have been a huge investment in capital. So we started planning for outpatient facilities.”
OSF HealthCare purchased the former Cottage property in April 2022.
Graham’s first Galesburg clinic opened at 1174 N. Seminary St. in September. It offers a Convenient Care clinic open seven days a week, in addition to providers for diabetes management, women’s health, primary care, family medicine, and podiatry.
“The community was very energetic and excited for us to be coming to town. Our schedules quickly filled there,” said Michelle Daley, vice president for clinic operations for Graham Health System.
Senneff said with that positive response they knew almost immediately they were going to need more space in Galesburg.
They purchased property at 530 N. Seminary St., then gutted and remodeled it over the last few months.
That clinic will open in a matter of weeks.
The providers currently operating in the first clinic will move there, leaving the Convenient Care clinic with more space in the initial location.
Next up for Graham in Galesburg is what Senneff calls the “major investment.”
A new, 13,600-square-foot facility will be constructed on 36 acres in the 2000 block of North Seminary Street.
“We’re going to have a multi-specialty clinic. We’ll also have an imaging center, so we’ll have mammography, we’ll have bone densitometry, ultrasound, x-ray, at some point in time we will probably have a CT scanner,” Senneff said.
There will also be an endoscopy suite and a number of specialty clinics, including behavioral health. That means more providers for the Galesburg area across Graham’s three locations.
Senneff said Graham both competes with and complements what OSF HealthCare provides in the Galesburg area, giving the community more options for primary care and specialty care while understanding that OSF is essential to the local healthcare equation.
“We have a very good relationship with OSF, we think. We send lots of patients to OSF every day,” he said.
Graham is also upgrading and expanding facilities in Canton and has opened a new clinic in Macomb.
The Graham Hospital Association is seeking up to $15 million in bonds to fund those expansions and improvements.
Senneff said $7 million of that will be invested in the new Galesburg clinic.
The bonds will be issued by the city of Canton.
Per state law, because the bond issue will be used for projects in Galesburg, Graham needs the consent of the Knox County board.
A public hearing on that is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 8 in council chambers at Galesburg city hall, followed by a special meeting of the board.
Senneff explained there’s no financial obligation from local governments.
“Knox County has no liability for the bonds to be repaid. The citizens of Knox County have zero liability as well. The citizens of Canton have zero liability, the city has no liability. The bonds are being paid back by the revenue produced by Graham Hospital Association,” he said.
Around $750,000 from the bond issue was set to go toward the new Macomb clinic.
But the McDonough County board voted that down, with leaders of McDonough District Hospital calling Graham’s expansion there a “predatory approach.”
Senneff said he doesn’t foresee any similar issues for the Galesburg project.
He said all of his interactions with city and county officials for the Galesburg project have been positive, professional, and supportive.
Graham Health System expects to break ground on the new Galesburg clinic this summer and for it to open next fall.
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