Chicago's Mercy Hospital to close in 2021

After nearly 170 years of operation, Mercy Hospital & Medical Center in Chicago will close in 2021, pending approval from the state review board. The hospital noted that it can no longer sustain monthly operating losses of $4 million. 

The 292-bed hospital will close between Feb. 1 and May 31 depending on state approval, a Mercy spokesperson confirmed. 

The decision to end services at Chicago's first chartered hospital comes after a deal fell through in which Mercy would have joined forces with three other South Side hospitals — Advocate Trinity Hospital, South Shore Hospital and St. Bernard Hospital — to create an independent health system. The newly formed system had plans to build one to two state-of-the-art hospitals and three to six outpatient centers to ultimately replace their existing four hospital facilities.  

Mercy and its would-be partners called off the deal in late May after the state funding for the $1.1 billion project fell through.

Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health purchased Mercy Hospital in 2012 and has since put more than $236 million toward infrastructure improvements and short-term operating needs. 

A spokesperson for Mercy also notes that its aging facility will require at least $100 million of additional capital investments in the next five years. 

"The decision to discontinue services at Mercy Hospital was not an easy one. But patients on the South Side have unmet needs within the current system," Carol Schneider, hospital president, said in a statement. 

But Mercy does not plan to leave Chicago's healthcare landscape entirely. A spokesperson confirmed that Mercy is planning to develop an outpatient center that offers diagnostics, urgent care and care coordination and will treat 50,000-plus patients annually. 

"The transformation from an inpatient model to one with greater access to outpatient services will better address the disparate outcomes in health from which our community suffers today," Ms. Schneider said.

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