Chicago’s oldest hospital isn’t closing simply but.
The Illinois Well being Services & Companies Evaluate Board at this time unanimously voted to deny Mercy Hospital & Medical Middle’s utility to shut early subsequent 12 months.
Board members expressed issues that the outpatient middle Mercy plans to open within the space received’t be operational till Sept. 30, which would depart some residents with out entry to medical care instantly following the hospital’s closure within the midst of a pandemic.
Board member Sandra Martell, a public well being administrator for the Winnebago County Well being Division, is amongst those that voted to not approve Mercy’s utility to shut. She stated her determination is “based mostly on workers experiences and issues that closure would have a big affect on the well being of the group served by Mercy.”
Mercy’s plan to shut between Feb. 1 and Might 31—throughout a public well being disaster—has prompted outrage from elected officers and group members. It could end in roughly 400 fewer beds on Chicago’s South Facet, the place individuals of coloration have lengthy been disproportionately affected by continual circumstances and, now, COVID-19.
State Rep. Theresa Mah, D-Chicago, testified in the course of the assembly that not solely would her constituents be left and not using a full-service hospital if Mercy closed, but in addition that hospital employees could be left with out jobs throughout a pandemic and financial recession. Mah requested the board to desk their determination in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is disproportionately affecting Black, Brown, immigrant and low-income communities.
However the hospital is amongst these struggling to remain afloat within the face of rising bills, declining reimbursements and competitors from increasing native chains. Owned by Livonia, Mich-based Trinity Well being (which additionally owns three-hospital Loyola Medication), Mercy posted internet earnings of $four million in fiscal 2020, in contrast with a internet lack of $36 million a 12 months earlier.
Trinity govt John Capasso testified that Mercy solely ended fiscal 12 months 2020 within the black due to one-time authorities funds, and that “staggering” working losses are anticipated to speed up post-COVID.
Capasso added that plenty of native hospitals have dedicated to using Mercy workers following the closure.
Different attendees who testified throughout at this time’s state board assembly—together with state lawmakers, native medical professionals and group members—implored the board members to disclaim the closure, or no less than to think about suspending the vote.
Other than Trinity representatives, St. Bernard Hospital CEO Charles Holland was the one attendee who testified in assist of the closure, noting that hospital “transformation and regional planning must occur on the South Facet of Chicago.”
St. Bernard and Mercy had been amongst 4 financially struggling hospitals within the space that explored a merger supposed to enhance entry to medical companies, remove redundant bills and extra. However the deal fell aside in Might after state legislators declined to assist fund the mixture, citing an absence of specifics round the place any new amenities could be situated and which current amenities may shut.
In the meantime, Trinity not too long ago utilized with the state to open Mercy Care Middle, a $13 million outpatient clinic that may be situated lower than 2 miles from the hospital. The middle would supply pressing care, diagnostic testing and care coordination to attach sufferers with the suitable suppliers and companies. The state well being board is tentatively scheduled to vote on the outpatient mission at its Jan. 26 assembly.