Drs. Peppers and Larson leaving Cottage on December 22, say other plans are underway

GALESBURG – Two longtime pediatricians at Galesburg Cottage Hospital are resigning, but say they are working to ensure the community continues to receive adequate pediatric care.

Frank Peppers and Amy Larson will be leaving Cottage on December 22, medics have confirmed.

On behalf of the two medics, Peppers told The Register-Mail that they were unable to provide further comment at this time, but indicated that other plans were underway.

A spokesperson for Cottage Hospital said the resignations were linked to the staffing levels of the pediatricians’ office.

Courtney Bibo, who was appointed director of community relations and staff for Cottage Hospital this month, said the pediatricians’ office was operating with a large number of support staff and nurses, which was not not financially viable.

“The administration and Drs. Peppers and Larson negotiated a reduced number of staff and nurses, which was still higher than standard practice for pediatrician offices, ”Bibo said. “In the end, the doctors still decided to quit.”

Cottage confirmed to The Register-Mail in September that 30 jobs had been cut at his hospital and clinics in Galesburg.

Officials said these layoffs represented less than 10% of the workforce and were an attempt to resize the organization amid an ongoing pandemic and a nationwide shortage of workers in the healthcare sector .

Cottage Hospital was acquired by SBJ Group Inc. of Austin, Texas in June of last year from former owner Quorum Health Corporation.

Peppers, a graduate of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, has worked at Cottage Hospital for 21 years.

Larson is also a graduate of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and has worked at Cottage Hospital for 15 years.

Both are members of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Peppers and Larson’s departure has some families concerned about the future availability of pediatric care in Galesburg and surrounding communities.

When asked if Cottage intends to fill the pediatrician positions, Bibo said Cottage is evaluating options regarding pediatric care and will respond appropriately based on the needs of the community.

“We currently have several family physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners to care for the children in the community,” said Bibo.

Also in the area, Matthew Weidman, a pediatrician at OSF Holy Family Medical Center in Monmouth, announced in September that he would be leaving OSF on December 1.

“It is with great regret that after 13 years, I am ending my service to the children of Monmouth, Galesburg and surrounding communities,” Weidman said in a Facebook post. “Unfortunately, sometimes you have to make difficult decisions for your own health and well-being.”

An OSF HealthCare spokesperson said the organization was “fully committed to providing pediatric care to residents of Knox and surrounding counties.”

OSF is actively recruiting and has candidates for new pediatric positions in the region, the spokesperson said.

“In addition, OSF HealthCare has some wonderful family physicians who currently serve and enjoy providing care to the pediatric population,” said the spokesperson.

Peppers and Larson have issued the following statement regarding patient medical records:

“For Pediatric and Adolescent Care Patients: As of December 22, 2021, Dr Amy Larson and Dr Frank Peppers will no longer be employed by Galesburg Cottage Hospital. After this date, to access your medical records, you will need to contact Galesburg Cottage Hospital at (309) 343-8131.

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