OSF HealthCare St. Mary Medical Center in Galesburg, Ill., has a new hotline for call to help patients of Cottage Hospital-Clinic transfer their care.

The hotline was established after Galesburg Cottage Hospital closed, a news release says. Owners shuttered the facilities over the weekend after a series of challenges, including a decision by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to decertify the hospital because of safety issues.

The hotline number is 309-344-9438. The hotline will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to address questions about next steps for Cottage patients who need immediate care or who want to connect with a new OSF provider for ongoing primary and/or specialty care. Outside of these hours, callers may leave a message with information to receive a call back to get answers to their questions.

 “We know this is a time of high anxiety for Cottage Hospital and Clinic patients, and frankly, the entire region. We are doing our best to manage the questions, some of which we are clarifying daily,” said Lisa DeKezel, president of OSF HealthCare St. Mary Medical Center in Galesburg and OSF HealthCare Holy Family Medical Center in Monmouth.

“We have been preparing for more than two years to become the area’s sole provider, and we’ve been accepting Cottage patients for emergencies, procedures and surgeries, and ICU care at an accelerated pace for the past 6-8 months,” DeKezel added. “However, with the Cottage closure now a certainty, we have stepped up our response with ongoing hiring, in addition to infrastructure improvements that have already occurred and others that are nearing completion. These steps allow OSF St. Mary Medical Center and neighboring OSF Holy Family Medical Center to be the sustainable source for health care in the region.”

OSF St. Mary leadership continues to evaluate community needs and will recruit providers and support efforts to fill care gaps within the region, the release says. This is something that occurs regularly, not simply as a result of the Cottage closure.

“We are committed to keeping care local and we’ve worked on recruiting more specialists to be able to treat individuals requiring a higher level of care without having to transfer them to a hospital outside of the community,” said Roxanne Crosser, CEO of the Western Region of OSF HealthCare. “We are here to fulfil our Mission of serving with the greatest care and love, regardless of any challenges that come our way. We are prepared and we are here now and in the future.