CEOs of Harrisburg Medical Center and Southern Illinois Healthcare expect a bright future as two facilities merge


Soraya Marashi


The CEOs of Harrisburg Medical Center (HMC) and Southern Illinois Healthcare (SIH) recently discussed the potential benefits they expect to see as a result of the merger between the two facilities. This integration is expected to happen gradually over the next two years.


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This decision dates back to June, when the HMC Board of Directors voted in favor of the Saline County hospital joining SIH.

In a recent Saline Chamber of Commerce meeting, HMC CEO Donald Hutson stated that increasingly low reimbursements for medical care, coupled with physicians’ lack of desire to work in a small market, were putting immense pressure on the small-scale Harrisburg hospital. This inspired the search for a “strategic alignment” with another health care provider. Hutson stated:

“What made perfect sense was to look to the organization that has been the most heavily vested in health care in southern Illinois, which is SIH.”

Hutson added that this merger would allow for specialty and sub-specialty services to be offered locally in Harrisburg, so that more patients can receive local primary and secondary medical services. He said the partnership will also mean more competitive pay for HMC staff, as well as access to more career advancement and training opportunities.

“Our patients will continue to receive outstanding care from the same compassionate, caring professionals they have come to know and trust over the years. This will greatly enhance Harrisburg Medical Center’s ability to provide an array of comprehensive health care services in southeastern Illinois. Patients will greatly benefit from having new and improved services closer to their home.”

The two organizations have previously collaborated in several areas, such as general surgery and urology. According to an SIH news release, “both organizations believe the enhanced affiliation would strengthen their existing relationship and create pathways to better meet the increasing clinical, financial and technological demands of delivering health care.”

SIH CEO Rex Budde stated his three main goals for HMC are to improve care in neurology, cardiac care, and pulmonology care. He also looks forward to inheriting an active mental health component as part of the merger. 

He further noted that SIH would be expanding in a $130 million project over the next seven years, which would include HMC. 

Both CEOs emphasized the mutually beneficial nature of the new partnership. Budde said:

“HMC and SIH share a patient-centered culture committed to excellence, quality, and transparency. SIH is very excited by the potential to expand services and make it possible for even more patients to receive great care locally.”