Pipeline Health accused of defying court order to keep Illinois hospital open

Westlake Hospital staff and local leaders are accusing Los Angeles-based Pipeline Health of violating a court order to keep the hospital open until May 1.

Citing a staff shortage, Pipeline suspended services at the Melrose Park, Ill.-based hospital on April 9 and gave employees a 60-day notice of closure. Pipeline's plan to immediately shut down the hospital was put on hold when Cook County Circuit Court Judge Eve Reilly granted the village of Melrose Park a temporary restraining order to prevent Pipeline from closing the hospital, cutting services or laying off workers until May 1.

Hospital staff members told several local media outlets that Pipeline has continued to lay off employees and haul medical equipment off site, despite the court order. Employees who spoke to NBC 5 on April 10 said patients were being turned away from the hospital.

The village of Melrose Park filed an emergency motion asking for Pipeline to be held in contempt of court for allegedly disregarding the temporary restraining order. Cook County Circuit Court Judge Moshe Jacobius heard the emergency motion on April 11 but didn't make a final ruling. Instead, he scheduled an evidentiary hearing for next week, according to Crain's Chicago Business.

Pipeline has denied any wrongdoing. "The allegations are false. We are following the judge's order," a company spokesperson told NBC 5.

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