Metro East Area News Briefs

Chronicle Media

Chart compares, by year, percentages of Madison County Medicare patients who are suffering from depression with the percentage of Medicare patients diagnosed with the condition nationwide.
(Chart courtesy of HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospitals)

Lifestyle, behavioral problems top health concerns

It’s unanimous: obesity, mental health and substance abuse are the top health concerns across a wide swath of Metro East, according to a trio of formal health assessment surveys.

Results from the three federally-mandated Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA) — conducted by the HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospitals in Breese and Highland, and HSHS Holy Family Hospital in Greenville — will now be used to formulate community health improvement plans addressing identified priority issues.

“This is the first time, to my knowledge, that the hospitals have identified the exact same priorities in their assessments,” said Amy Liefer, director of philanthropy and community engagement at all three hospitals. “It really emphasizes the degree to which these needs are impacting our community. The statistics found in the report were surprising to many in our community.”

Access to healthcare was identified a fourth major concern in all three of the assessments.

Substance abuse was defined to include the use or misuse of alcohol, tobacco, and legal or illegal drugs, in the surveys.

HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland serves primary the mostly rural areas of eastern Madison County and western Bond County. St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese serves Clinton County. HSHS Holy Family Hospital in Greenville serves Bond County.

A “St. Clair County Community Health Improvement Plan,” developed last year, identified the health priorities in that area as: community safety (including infant and child mortality, crime prevention and “strengthening social ties”), mental health/substance abuse (including suicide prevention and substance abuse treatment and prevention), and education (including educational achievement/vocational readiness, and prevention-based health education/promotion for all age groups).

Current community health assessments for other areas of Metro East have yet to be announced.

Management consultant named new SWIC president

Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC) Board of Trustees president Nicholas J. Mance — a certified public accountant (CPA) and management consultant — was named the financially-troubled community college’s new president, during a special board meeting July 2.

He replaces former SWIC president Georgia Costello, who retired on June 30 after leading the college since 2008.

Plans for a new president were announced in May of last year, as Mance led an expense-cutting initiative that trimmed 47 staff members and 19 administrators from the college staff; in line with funding shortfalls.

Administrator blame their financial woes on state funding allocations and enrollment declines.

Between fiscal years 2015 and 2016, SWIC saw a roughly 87 percent decrease in state funding; from $13.5 million to $1.6 million, according to statements for college administrators.

Over the same period, enrollment dropped by 1,139 students. The college reported a total student population of 18,706 in 2016 filings with the Illinois Office of the Comptroller.   

An East St. Louis resident, Mance is a founding partner of The Mance-Leahy Group, a Columbia Il-based accounting firm.  The accounting practice specializes in organizational and efficiency studies, budgeting and planning, financial proposals, and other services for private businesses, as well as school districts and other public entities.

Southwestern Illinois Community College District 522 Community College reported $102,829,437 in “appropriations” at the close of its 2017 fiscal year on June 30; with another $767,139 in the treasury of the Southwestern Illinois College Foundation at the close of its 2016 fiscal year on Dec. 31.

SWIC’s filing for the 2017 budget year do not currently appear on the state comptroller’s website.

In outlining the SWIC board’s budget reduction program in 2016, Mance called for examining the college’s marketing, information technology (IT), custodial and Instruction programs, in that order.

He also called for a review of cost shifts from SWIC to the foundation, for programs such as arts, theatre, and athletics.  He proposed a reduction in GED testing locations to two.  He has also proposed a study of grant funding and the costs involved to the college.

Metro East home sales continue on upswing  

Home sales increased 9 percent in Metro East during May, compared with the same month last year, according to data released last month by the Realtor Association of Southwestern Illinois.

Some 756 homes were sold in Madison, Monroe and St. Clair counties during of May of this year; compared with 693 during the same month last year.

Across the wider, eight-county Southwesten Illinois region of the St. Louis metropolitan statistical area, home sales volume increased 7.1 percent — with 859 homes sold during May of this year compared with 802 during the same month last year.

In St. Clair County, home sales volume increased 14.1 percent year-over-year during May — with 364 units sold compared to 319 during the same month last year.

Madison County saw home sales volume up 6.3 percent — with 353 units sold in May compared to 332 during the same month in 2017.

However, in Monroe County, home sales volume was down 13 percent year over year — with 39 homes sold in May of this year compared with 42 during the same month last year.

In Clinton County, home sales volume edged down 4 percent — with 24 residential units sold in May of this year, compared with 25 during the same month last year.

In Randolph County, residential sales volume was down 43.8 percent — with nine homes sold in May of this year compared with 16 during the same month of 2017.

In Macoupin County, home sales volume held steady year-over-year — with 27 homes sold in May of both 2017 and 2018.

In Jersey County, homes sales volume inched up 5 percent — with 21 homes sold during May of this year and 20 during the same month last year.

In Montgomery County, sales volume was up 4.7 percent — with 22 homes sold during May of 2018 compared with 21 during the same months last year.


–Metro East Area News Briefs–