Developers of new Homer G. Phillips Hospital have ‘no intentions’ of changing name

Missouri

FILE – Homer G. Phillips Hospital

ST. LOUIS – A new hospital opening might be cause for celebration under normal circumstances, but the developers of this particular hospital in north St. Louis have drawn the ire of some over the planned name for the facility.

NorthSide Regeneration, led by developer Paul McKee, recently finished construction of the new Homer G. Phillips Hospital.

The original 600-bed Homer G. Phillips was named after the prominent African-American lawyer who got it built to serve African-American patients and train African-American doctors and nurses when racial segregation was a way of life in America. For a time, it was considered one of the nation’s best hospitals. It closed in 1979 after 42 years and has since been converted to residences for seniors.

The new hospital is located at Jefferson Avenue and Thomas Street, adjacent to the $1.7 billion National Geospatial (NGA) headquarters.

The hospital will have three fully-staffed in-patient beds when it opens in spring 2022, as well as a 24-7 emergency room with 16 beds. Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU), based out of Puerto Rico, will operate a medical school at the hospital.

However, critics, among them St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones, say the naming of the facility had almost no community input and believe developers are stealing and repurposing Black history for their own benefit.

Meanwhile, Darryl Pigge, an attorney for McKee, said the site has already begun preparations for a 100-bed expansion of the new hospital.

The new hospital’s board of directors released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:

Some disagree with our decision to name the hospital in Mr. Phillips’ honor. While we respect the right of those who disagree with our efforts to bring a life-saving facility to a healthcare desert, we have no intentions to re-examine the naming of this hospital. That decision was made after careful consideration and consultation with many in the community and we believe it was the right one. Instead, we hope these individuals and others in the community will join us by sharing their insights into how the hospital and medical campus can best serve the long-neglected people of North St. Louis.

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