Humble Beginnings

September 21, 2021

Heartland Health Services is an example of how a community addresses its share of a nationwide problem: a growing segment of the population, spanning all ages, lacks access to health care. The working poor, unemployed, and children are among those affected. When faced with a need for care, many do without because they have no insurance, little or no money, and are ineligible for government assistance programs.


The physicians of Peoria Medical Society viewed this problem with increasing concern and appointed a task force to study the issue. It was found that many people in the community shared these concerns and were willing to work towards a solution.

After months of study, Peoria's medical, business, and religious communities worked together to develop Heartland Health Services located at  600 NE Monroe Street, Peoria, IL .


The clinic began offering medical services on December 10, 1991. Volunteers primarily staffed the clinic with only one paid employee. The primary care physicians who worked in the clinic, the specialists they referred, the nurses, pharmacists, social workers, and clerical personnel were all donating their time and services. Most of the supplies and equipment used in the clinic were donated. Peoria's three hospitals provided diagnostic testing and inpatient services at no charge to the patient on a monthly rotation.


Heartland Health Services (HHS) was designated as a federally qualified health center (FQHC) on February 1, 2004. Its targeted population includes the largest concentration of low-income adults and children and the most significant percentage of minorities, uninsured, underinsured, medically needy, and homeless within Peoria and the larger Tri-county region. Heartland receives the support of the local healthcare systems, medical schools, community partners, and local businesses.


Heartland employs approximately 205 employees to provide primary medical care to nearly 22,403 unduplicated patients annually. The community health center's leading site is located at 1701 W. Garden, in the south end of Peoria. Downtown bisects Peoria's high-poverty and high-minority population, concentrated in the north and south valleys and increasing in the East Bluff with the same population pools. Heartland added a second primary site located at 711 W. John Gwynn Jr. Ave. was established in  May 2006. An additional community health center site was added in August 2007 to the East Bluff,  located at 2321 N. Wisconsin Avenue.


This site was expanded in June 2009 to provide additional medical exam rooms. During the calendar year 2013, 34,451 visits were provided to 11,645 unduplicated patients. As of February 3, OSF Sisters Clinic became a part of Heartland Health Services. By working together, the two clinics – supported by the UICOMP physician residency program, can do more for the medically under-served in the Peoria area for those seeking primary health care services.


This partnership eliminated duplication of efforts and allowed all three organizations to continue to provide efficient and effective Access to Quality, Affordable Health Care services. The addition of the Armstrong location added over 80 staff members seeing over 8,799 patients per year.