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Belt initiative maintains Gateway Regional as safety net hospital

An initiative sponsored by state Sen. Christopher Belt, D-Centreville, that would ensure Gateway Regional Medical Center in Granite City would maintain its status as a safety net hospital was signed into law Friday.

“Illinois’ safety net hospitals are of vital importance to our community’s health and safety, especially during a pandemic, “Belt said. “Gateway serves thousands of people each year, and ensuring that it maintains its status as a safety net hospital has been one of my top priorities.”

In recent years, Gateway Regional Medical Center has been collaborating with neighboring Alton Memorial Hospital to preserve its behavioral health and obstetrician services through a realignment of services, with OB services being relocated to Alton Memorial. Unfortunately, due to this realignment, Gateway would not qualify as a safety net hospital, because it no longer provides OB services.

“Many patients served by safety net hospitals are uninsured,” Belt said. “These hospitals are the only place thousands of Illinoisans can go to receive medical care, and I put forward this initiative to protect them.”

In order to maintain its status as a safety net hospital, the initiative adds Gateway to a list of grandfathered safety net hospitals in the state.

“Nobody should be afraid to seek medical attention when they need it,” Belt said. “By signing this initiative into law, we’re ensuring that thousands of residents in the Granite City area will still have an affordable option.”

The new law, Senate Bill 1530 of the 101st General Assembly, takes effect immediately.

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