Chicago's Mercy Hospital remains committed to closure plan despite rejection by state board

Although Illinois regulators unanimously rejected a plan for Mercy Hospital & Medical Center in Chicago, the hospital said it remains committed to its plan to shut its doors, according to Chicago's CBS Local. 

The 292-bed hospital on the South Side announced plans in July to close in 2021, pending state approval. The hospital said the decision was made because it suffers monthly operating losses of $4 million.

Mercy also cited a failed $1.1 billion merger in its closure decision. It sought to join forces with three other South Side Chicago hospitals — Advocate Trinity, South Shore and St. Bernard — to create an independent health system.

Mercy's parent organization, Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health, said in lieu of operating the South Side hospital, it would open an outpatient clinic with an urgent care center.

But members of the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board voted Dec. 15 to prevent the hospital from closing for now. Mercy does have a second opportunity to persuade the board and can still pursue closure in court. It can also close the facility and face fines.

After the review board ruling, an email from leadership was sent to Mercy Medical Center staff saying they "remain committed" to the closure plan, according to CBS Local. 

Mercy said it plans to appear before the state board again in early 2021.

The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board also said that despite its decision in mid-December to block Mercy from closing, services at the hospital could be suspended if it doesn't meet staffing, services or accessibility standards, according to the report.

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