Five-Star Care Closer Than You Think
Not too far back in the past, it was common for a family to have a doctor who saw them through all their bouts of illness. The same doctor would deliver the babies, tend to the kids through childhood, and treat whatever maladies befell the adults. The doctor, in essence, became an extended part of the family.
Today, medical care is typically administered by large conglomerates. Physicians continue to specialize and the old style of having one physician manage a majority of a patient’s care has become a rarity. It is not uncommon for one person to have at least a dozen different doctors to tend to all their health needs.
Hopedale Medical Complex (HMC) has been able to protect the traditional doctor-patient relationship for seven decades while also providing cutting-edge medical care. They pride themselves on taking care of the whole patient in what now feels like concierge medicine. Hopedale, Illinois is conveniently placed between Bloomington, Peoria, and Springfield. The Rossi family has been involved in the operations of the Hopedale Medical Complex (HMC) for three generations.
Dr. Isolina Rossi is the newest addition to HMC. She is a third-generation Hopedale physician, and she credits her father (Dr. Matt Rossi, her senior surgical mentor) and his siblings for making HMC the institution that it is today. She reflects on her desire to return home: “Leaving home for training in North Carolina made it even more obvious how special HMC is. In this post-COVID era, it is no secret that healthcare providers are burnt out. It is refreshing to be in a hospital where employees know each other’s names, enjoy coming to work, and know their patients as more than a room number.”
She summarizes the uniqueness of HMC: “We actually offer every patient a boutique-style surgical and medical care. It’s a breath of fresh air to finally come home. It makes me proud of what my grandfather had the foresight to pass on to his children and grandchildren.”
History of HMC
In the 1950s, Dr. Lawrence Rossi, Sr. was a general practitioner in the area around Hopedale, covering a 60-mile radius. This professional lifestyle became too difficult to sustain given the medical needs of the community.
Fearing they would lose the only medical care they had, scores of local farmers and citizens volunteered to help Dr. Rossi establish Hopedale Hospital. Dr. Rossi himself took out loans and used his own money to cover the first payroll, so the burgeoning hospital could get on its feet. It was out of this momentum that the not-for-profit corporation, The Hopedale Medical Foundation, was established in 1963. This charitable foundation owns HMC, which offers a continuum of care services, including an emergency room, an acute-care hospital with an ICU, a nursing home, independent and assisted living facilities, as well as a large wellness center.
During the next several decades, Dr. Rossi, Sr.’s children returned home after medical training to continue to cultivate and expand the services offered at HMC. The second generation (Dr. Isolina’s aunts and uncles) kept HMC afloat even during the most challenging times—especially during the passing of their visionary and, of course, through the COVID-19 pandemic that was responsible for the closure of dozens of rural hospitals due to staffing and supply chain shortages.
Dr. Rossi’s legacy lives on in two ways. Many of his children and now his grandchildren continue to serve the residents of the Hopedale area. “Hopedale Medical Complex has grown a lot since then. He was ahead of his time as far as his thought process and the setup of the hospital. HMC had one of the first nursing homes in the country, they provided alcohol rehabilitation, delivered babies, and of course, gave back to the community through charity.”
HMC has evolved considerably since its days with the elder Dr. Rossi. Now functioning as a full continuum of care hospital, HMC offers surgical services from hernias to thyroids to vascular to spines. You name it, they’re doing it. “It’s this daily compassion from the staff that is most noticeable when patients come here,” says Dr. Isolina. This rings true, as HMC was (again) named in the national top 20 critical access hospitals for quality outcomes and patient satisfaction. “It would be an oversight not to acknowledge our incredible staff—they really are the bones of the operation—from EVS, maintenance, and the kitchen, to the front desk, clinical, and on the floor.”
Joining the ‘Family Business’
The youngest of five children, Dr. Isolina was born in Hopedale and raised between there and Tremont. Before she joined the family business, however, she experienced a multi-tiered education in medicine. During the typical Medical Doctorate pathway, which includes four years of undergraduate, four years of graduate school, and five years of intensive surgical training, her eyes were opened to the reality of modern medicine and the rapid specialization of physicians.
“I had periods of hesitation as I trained with specialists. I was searching for a career that let me take care of the whole patient as opposed to just one problem,” she recalls. She knew that she wanted to carry on her grandfather’s legacy.
After graduating from Rush Medical College in Chicago, Dr. Isolina moved to Charlotte, North Carolina for general surgery training. She was mentored by some of the founders of modern-day surgical techniques. Dr. B. Todd Heniford mentored her in complex hernia surgery, and she mastered robotic surgery under an international leader in the field, Dr. John Martinie. “I was fortunate with my experiences; they gave me something I was really excited to bring back to Hopedale—to keep us on the forefront of modern-day surgery,” she says.
Returning to Hopedale, her family continues to support her outside and inside the hospital. “My twin brother, Aldo, did his master’s in nursing and is manager of the OR, so we get to work together every day. My oldest brother, Nicholas, founded Hopedale Neuro and Spine and performs minimally invasive back procedures. He’s been at HMC for two years and has been a priceless mentor for me.”
General surgery is historically described as surgery for “the skin and its contents.” When most people hear about surgery, they think of big incisions, pain, and long stays in the hospital. Dr. Isolina and her partners bring minimally invasive surgical solutions for complex diseases. Most patients, after such procedures, can go home the same day. Her particular interest is in minimally invasive hernia repair and complex abdominal wall reconstruction.
“Open surgical operations have increased risks of infections and wound breakdown. Actually, 20 percent of patients who have had a large incision on their belly will develop a hernia over their lifetime.” A hernia is a weakening in the abdominal wall, which can cause pain and even lead to an emergency operation. “The natural history of hernias is to continue to grow. The correct timing of repair depends a lot on the patient.” HMC focuses especially on optimizing patients for the best surgical outcomes. Targeted physical therapy at the Hopedale Wellness Center, focused efforts on weight loss, and other aspects of what Dr. Isolina refers to as “pre-habilitation” make the HMC approach unique. “The easy solution is to operate right away, but that’s not the right answer for everyone. We help patients be their healthiest version so that the same day of surgery they can walk out of the hospital to go home.”
Dr. Isolina’s personal interest in medical and surgical weight loss is directly tied to her desire to improve the health and longevity of her community. “Science confirms that fat is an organ—it releases hormones that directly affect how our bodies metabolize energy,” explains Dr. Isolina. “Obesity is a risk factor for surgical complications and is the cause of most medical conditions. With weight loss, most people will be able to stop medications for blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol.”
Holding Onto Tradition and Embracing the Future
Just as an adult holds onto many physical and personality characteristics from childhood, Hopedale Medical Complex and its doctors continue to grow and evolve but maintain the essence of what makes them ‘HMC.’
From clinic services to outpatient and inpatient services to surgical services, Dr. Isolina believes HMC will continue to grow and evolve. And with over 30 of her cousins who went into healthcare, there is a better than ever chance the Rossi family will continue to personally invest in its success.
The most important aspect of Hopedale Medical Complex is the one that Dr. Isolina hopes will never change: it’s personal approach to medicine. “Hopedale is a bastion for healthcare, especially now, when people are kicked from specialist to specialist. We’re fortunate that the patients we take in, we keep under our wing.”
“It’s the number one thing we hope to maintain, and our patients appreciate that,” Dr. Isolina concludes. “It’s an old approach to medicine in the sense that it’s a one-on-one experience. Regardless of the direction of the hospital, we hope to continue to offer that to patients.”
Hopedale Medical Complex is located at 107 Tremont Street in Hopedale, Illinois. To learn more about what services we provide, please visit us on the web at www.hopedalemc.com. Or call us at (309) 449-3321. For more information about Dr. Isolina and her services, visit her personal website at isolinarossimd.com.