The Battle Against Budget Cuts

A St. Bernard Hospital employee signs the petition to save Illinois’ safety-net hospitals.

A St. Bernard Hospital employee signs the petition to save Illinois’ safety-net hospitals.

Last week, St. Bernard Hospital collected over 500 signatures from employees, patients and visitors urging Gov. Rauner and state lawmakers to protect patients and save safety-net hospitals. If the governor’s proposed Medicaid cuts are implemented, St. Bernard and other safety-net hospitals could lose many of their key services. This would leave patients with few options for health care and place enormous stress on our already overburdened Cook County Health System.

The fact is that safety-net hospitals like St. Bernard, which has provided health care for South Side communities for 110 years, and whose patients primarily rely on Medicaid, simply cannot sustain continued, drastic reductions in funding. These cuts put the health and wellbeing of millions of Illinois citizens at risk. Not only would access to primary care be reduced, these cuts could also lead to the elimination of specialty services — chronic disease education and treatment, dental care, mental health and addiction treatment, as well as access to emergency care — that our communities depend on.

As the designated state drop-off location for mental health patients from Lake Michigan to Western Ave. and from 47th Street to 87th Street, St. Bernard’s service area includes nearly 700,000 residents. The hospital has the distinction of receiving the most EMS (ambulance) runs in the city of Chicago (2014). Additional cuts to funding will severely impact our ability to receive and treat these patients. There will be little or no alternatives for them to receive care they desperately need.

With the state’s fiscal situation, tough decisions have to be made. But what greater responsibility do our elected officials have than to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens have access to health care? $1.5 billion in cuts means lost health services in our communities. $1.5 billion in cuts would eliminate thousands of jobs and economic development. Convincing lawmakers to prevent these cuts is vital to the families who depend on safety-net hospitals.

To help fight this issue, please visit The website allows you to send an automated letter to your state legislators asking them to stop cuts to Medicaid. Your voice matters; use it.

Charles Holland
President and CEO
St. Bernard Hospital

Keeping It Alive Brings Smiles to Children

Easter Basket GiveawayChildren at St. Bernard Hospital received a treat on Friday, April 3 when members from the Keeping It Alive Foundation dropped off 15 Easter baskets filled with candy, toys and art supplies. The Keeping It Alive Foundation honors the memory of Dakia Wilson, who passed away from a heart condition at the age of 16. “She had a beautiful spirit and we want to keep it alive,” says Wilson’s aunt and president of the Foundation, Lenora Payton.

Keeping It Alive provides gifts for children with illnesses and those in need, primarily focusing on children in hospitals. “[Dakia] spent a lot of her time in the hospital,” says Payton. “We want to bless other children who may be struggling.”

St. Bernard Hospital was selected for this year’s giveaway because of its work in the Englewood community. “A lot of times people forget about small hospitals…,” says Payton. The Foundation plans on making this an annual tradition and hopes to extend donations to shelters in the future.

“We are very grateful for the Easter baskets we received,” says Evelyn Jones, vice president, nursing services. “The children’s faces lit up as soon as they saw them. We appreciate Keeping It Alive for thinking of our families.”


Courageous Crossing Guard Receives King Humanitarian Service Award

2015 King Award Honoree

Honoree Yolanda Gray (center) with Chief Radiologist, Dr. Henry Wiggins (far left), CPD Deputy Chief Leo Schmitz (left), Alderman Toni Foulkes (second from right), and St. Bernard CEO Charles Holland (far right) with members of the St. Bernard Hospital Community Relations Committee.

St. Bernard Hospital’s 18th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Service Award was presented to Yolanda Gray, a courageous and dedicated Englewood crossing guard. The Humanitarian Service Award is presented each year by the Community Relations Committee of St. Bernard Hospital, which selects candidates whose efforts reflect the values and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through action in the community. The 18th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Service Award and Celebration was held in the chapel of St. Bernard Hospital January 16.

This year’s honoree, Yolanda Gray, was selected by the Committee because of her unwavering dedication to improving the Englewood community — particularly to serving its children. As a crossing guard she is known for remaining on the job beyond her regular hours to ensure that children are safe on the streets she patrols. Encouraging children to stay in school, on a number of occasions Ms. Gray has used her own modest means to help children she sees in need, purchasing necessities they need for school. She has even gone so far as to wash their clothes for them. She says it is because she loves the babies.

A diligent observer of the activities taking place around the Englewood neighborhood where she lives and works, she has reported alleged criminal activity and paid a price for speaking out. Ms. Gray has endured the personal expense of having her car vandalized, its windows smashed and sides scratched by street gangs. She has suffered the indignity of gang members urinating on her vehicle, and the pettiness of them blocking her driveway so that she must park away from her home. Despite these troublesome issues and the personal risk to her safety, she has persevered. Ms. Gray still finds it in her heart to participate in the Extended Anti-Violence Initiative of the 7th District Police Department. There she speaks to gang members, encouraging them to stop the violence and to promote hope.

St. Bernard Hospital’s annual tribute to Dr. King is a special event that brings together many South Side community members to honor Dr. King’s legacy and his philosophy of non-violence. Former recipients include Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins, an avid supporter of social issues; and 2014 recipient Loretta Espeut of Family Focus Englewood whose work champions the success of young families.




A Groundbreaking Wednesday in Englewood

St. Bernard Hospital Ambulatory Care Center Groundbreaking. Photo credit: Hurley Green III.

CHICAGO – When summer 2016 arrives, residents on the South Side of Chicago will have access to St. Bernard Hospital’s three-story, 70,000-square-foot Ambulatory Care Center at the corner of 63rd Street and Stewart Avenue.

The countdown to the opening of the new building began Wednesday, October 29 with a groundbreaking ceremony. Local officials and community members gathered to celebrate the special occasion.

When the doors open, residents can expect new and existing services like outpatient pharmacy, orthopedics and radiology. The Center will also house the Prenatal Women’s Wellness Clinic, specialty clinics like the Pediatric Asthma Clinic and Diabetes Clinic, and a walk-in clinic for non-emergent health care.

“We’ve worked very hard to bring this project to our community,” said Charles Holland, president and chief executive officer at St. Bernard Hospital. “Our endeavors to reach this milestone were not achieved alone. We have been fortunate to have city and community partners working with us at each juncture along the way.”

The ceremony opened with a prayer from Rev. St. John Chisum of Gifts from God Ministry and closed with a blessing from Rev. William Grogan, Vicar for Health Care of the Archdiocese of Chicago. The Johnson College Prep Choir and St. Bernard Hospital Choir performed for guests.

Present at the ceremony were United States Congressman Bobby Rush and 20th Ward Alderman Willie B. Cochran. Both remarked how pleased they were to see so many developments underway in Englewood.

“For 110 years St. Bernard Hospital, has served this community and we are very grateful for the support we have received from our residents without whom we could not exist,” said Gregory Whitehead, chairman of the board of trustees for St. Bernard Hospital.

“This facility continues our mission to serve this community not only as a health care provider, but as an important economic, job producing engine in the Englewood community,” said Mr. Holland.

New health care services coming to Englewood

St. Bernard Hospital Ambulatory Care Center

CHICAGO – St. Bernard Hospital will break ground on its new Ambulatory Care Center on Wednesday, October 29 at 10 a.m., at the corner of 63rd Street and Stewart Avenue in Chicago. The project, which was approved by the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board earlier this month, has been welcomed by area residents and business groups.

Located in the heart of the South Side, the Ambulatory Care Center will offer new and existing services in an expansive and modern environment. The three-story, 70,000-square-foot building will include services like outpatient pharmacy, orthopedics, and radiology. It will also house the Prenatal Women’s Wellness Clinic, specialty clinics like the Pediatric Asthma Clinic and Diabetes Clinic, and a walk-in clinic for non-emergent health care. Construction is expected to take approximately 18 months with a projected completion date set for summer 2016.

The hospital’s Community Health Needs Assessment, which was completed in 2012, identified the health care needs in the area. In addition, many area residents have to travel outside the community for outpatient and specialist services. “The need for additional health care resources in our community has been recognized for some time,” says Charles Holland, St. Bernard’s president and CEO. “The Ambulatory Care Center is an exceptional opportunity for us to expand access to preventive medicine for thousands of people.” He said.

The vision for the Center is a one-stop health care facility with a patient friendly environment. After studying the Community Health Needs Assessment and in response to initiatives of the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Holland and his senior team developed a strategy to improve community health outcomes. “People should be able to access health care services close to their homes,” says Holland.

The new structure will provide spacious and modern clinics and offices. Having exhausted the capacity to expand in their current buildings, Mr. Holland noted that “This new facility will not only help St. Bernard Hospital meet many current service demands, but provide the opportunity to bring additional services online in the future as we adapt to the quickly changing landscape of health care.”

In 2013, the emergency department at St. Bernard received the highest number of Chicago Fire Department Emergency Medical Service runs citywide. Currently serving over 42,000 patients annually, the demand on emergency services has steadily increased. A walk-in clinic has long been needed to provide access to non-emergency immediate care for which emergency departments have been inappropriately used. A walk-in clinic will provide greater access, as well as lower the cost to our overall healthcare system.

St. Bernard Community Fair September 20

St. Bernard Hospital to Host Community Fair on September 20

St. Bernard Hospital will host a community fair on Saturday, September 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the hospital’s parking lot at 326 West 64th Street in Chicago.

Parents and guardians are encouraged to bring their children for free physical examinations and vaccinations provided by the St. Bernard Hospital Pediatric Mobile Health Unit. Shot records must be presented in order to receive vaccinations.

There will be free health screenings for adults, free food, and giveaways from various vendors. Seniors citizens will have a special tent for activities like BINGO and health seminars. Children can enjoy face paintings, balloon animals, and free school supplies.

St. Bernard also plans to honor new mothers at the community fair. The first 100 women to arrive, who delivered at the hospital within the last year, will receive a congratulatory gift basket. Additionally, there will be free massage, basic manicures, haircuts (hair must be washed in advance) and makeup consultations.

For more information on this event, please contact Christina Clayton at (773) 896-2586 or visit

St. Bernard receives $50,000 grant for Pediatric Asthma

UChicago Medicine Logo

CHICAGO — Six non-profit groups that provide services on Chicago’s South Side are sharing $253,475 in grants for programs to improve the health of area communities. The grants are the first to be awarded under the University of Chicago Medicine’s new Community Benefits Grant Program, a joint initiative between the Urban Health Initiative (UHI) and the Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM). The program is aimed at advancing community-based programs to address health concerns faced by South Side residents.

“These local organizations deserve recognition for the great work they’re doing, and I’m thrilled that we’ll be collaborating with them to address these common diseases that so adversely affect sufferers’ quality of life,” said Julian Solway, MD, dean for translational medicine and director of the University of Chicago Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM). “The new Community Benefits Grant Program is a natural partnership for ITM and UHI, as our missions emphasize using research to improve community health, and we’re looking forward to working with many dynamic community groups in the years to come.”

This joint initiative will serve as an important component of the University of Chicago Medicine’s ongoing commitment to improving community health and wellness across its service areas. In its comprehensive 2012 Community Health Needs Assessment, the medical center identified five priority health needs on Chicago’s South Side — diabetes, breast and colorectal cancer, pediatric asthma, pediatric obesity and access to care — which serve as the basis for the grant program.

Almost 20 percent of children in the area have asthma, according to the assessment, and about six in every 10 of those children missed school and experienced an emergency or urgent care visit in 2011 because of their condition. The assessment also showed that among the community adults diagnosed with diabetes, more than 60 percent had more than three medical visits in 2011 related to their disease.

“This new grant program dovetails with the goals of UHI, which works to improve health and access to medical care on the South Side of Chicago through patient care, research and medical education in collaboration with community partners, and the goals of the ITM, which works to translate research into better health,” said Brenda A. Battle, vice president of care delivery innovation and the administrative leader of UHI.  “With this program we not only are leading the way for campus and community partnerships, but helping amplify the efforts of innovative organizations serving at-risk and underserved populations in our priority health areas.”

The organizations receiving 12-month grants for programs are:

  • St. Bernard Hospital and Health Care Center, $50,000 — The Pediatric Asthma Clinic will add a patient advocate position to help improve care coordination, education and assistance for patients with asthma (and their caregivers) by identifying and mitigating home and environmental asthma triggers.
  • CommunityHealth, $50,000 — Take Action! Diabetes Management Program
  • Asian Health Coalition, $29,500 — Diabetes Prevention Program for Asians in Chinatown
  • Chicago Asthma Consortium, $48,425 — Comprehensive School-Based Approach to Improve Asthma Outcomes
  • Mobile CARE Foundation, $45,000 — Roseland Community Initiative
  • Respiratory Health Association, $30,000 — Southside Asthma Management Project

Drivers license and state ID event at St. Bernard Hospital

ENGLEWOOD — For the second consecutive year the Secretary of State’s Office will dispatch its Mobile Driver Services unit to St. Bernard Hospital and Healthcare Center to make it easier for residents to receive state services.

The event runs from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. June 26 at the South Side hospital, 324 W. 64th St. Unlike last year when the event was held outside, Derek Michaels, a hospital spokesman, said this year it would be inside.

And since residents are allowed to update their licenses up to six months in advance, Michaels added it might start hosting the event twice a year.

Story continues on DNAinfo Chicago: Drivers License and ID Event in Englewood

Family Focus Director Honored with Humanitarian Service Award

By Wendell Hutson,

ENGLEWOOD — St. Bernard Hospital and Health Care Center honored a longtime community advocate Friday for her efforts to help children and families at its 17th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Service Award and Celebration.

Charles Holland, CEO and president of St. Bernard Hospital, said for the past 11 years Loretta Espeut, director of Family Focus, a social service organization in West Englewood, has helped needy families especially children with family support services and is a pillar in the community.

“She is an example of someone who cares about people and the community she serves and we want to recognize her for that,” Holland said.

But the 55-year-old grandmother attributed much of her success at helping Englewood families to her staff, who joined her at the ceremony.

“I accept this award on behalf of my agency. Without my staff I am nothing,” Espeut said after receiving the award. “All of us at Family Focus love kids and families. We are trying to do the type of work Dr. King did during his time and that’s helping everyone.”

Story continues on DNAinfo Chicago: St. Bernard Honors Family Focus Director

Christmas Tree-Lighting at Englewood Hospital

By Wendell Hutson on November 19, 2013,

ENGLEWOOD — St. Bernard Hospital and Health Care Center plans its first Christmas tree-lighting ceremony next month along with other free events for the community.

The Community Tree Lighting Celebration is from noon-1 p.m. Dec. 2 at the hospital’s main entrance, 326 W. 64th St. Hospital officials said they plan to make the event annual as a way to foster a stronger relationship with Englewood residents.

“This is a great way to give back to a community that has supported us for many years,” said Danny Rollins, vice president of ancillary and patient support services at St. Bernard. “There will be a countdown and everything just like it is done Downtown at the Daley Center tree lighting. We want to create that ‘wow’ effect once the lights are turned on.”

Read the complete story at: Christmas Tree Lighting at Englewood Hospital