HISTORY OF FAYETTE COUNTY HOSPITAL
In 1925, the first hospital in Vandalia, built by and called the Mark Greer Hospital was opened. It served the community well until the healthcare needs of the community exceeded the hospital’s capacity, which was determined in 1949, at which point Dr. Greer sold his hospital to Fayette County. In that same year a county-wide referendum was introduced and passed, and it created the Fayette County Hospital District.
A Governing Board was formed for the new Fayette County Hospital District, and the members began its work to plan for and build a new hospital that would be larger than the original Hospital and better able to meet the local healthcare needs. A brand new hospital was opened in 1955, and it has grown many times since 1955 in order to continue to meet the growing demands for its services. There have been several additions to the hospital, including a Long Term Care facility, which opened in 1972. The Fayette County Hospital District remains the owner of the hospital today.
During the 1980s the District Board members recognized that the hospital business is extremely complex, and they decided to sign a contract with what is now known as Barnes Jewish Christian Hospital in St. Louis for that large hospital to operate the Fayette County Hospital. That contract endured for approximately 15 years, before a contract was signed with a different entity, which was created for the sole purpose of operating the hospital beginning on January 1, 2005. That entity is Heartland Health System, which was owned by investors from Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. In July of 2019, Sarah Bush Lincoln purchased Heartland Health System, Inc. This involved operational ownership of the hospital and long term care.
In 2022, the Fayette County Hospital District Board unanimously voted at its meeting on February 28, 2022 in favor of transferring full ownership of the hospital to Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center. The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board approved transfer of ownership in March and the hospital is now called Sarah Bush Lincoln Fayette County Hospital.
In September of 2022, Karen Dyer was named the next SBL Fayette County Hospital CEO, taking over for Greg Starnes who had been in the role for 16 years.