Illinois hospitals can't fast-track closures under new legislation

In the wake of a controversial move to close an Illinois hospital, state lawmakers passed a bill aimed at preventing hospital operators from quickly shuttering facilities, according to The State Journal-Register.

Under the proposed legislation, hospital owners would be required to go through a standard and more thorough permit process to pursue closure. The process would give the hospital board the ability to consider broader effects of a hospital closure, such as how it would affect the surrounding community.

The bill attempts to remove a provision from current state law that allows hospital owners to expedite closure. The fast-track is done through an exemption process with the state review board, according to The State Journal-Register.

The Illinois House passed the bill, which will now return to the Senate for final approval before heading to Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker's desk, according to the report.

The measure is in response to controversy surrounding Melrose Park, Ill.-based Westlake Hospital. Its operator, Los Angeles-based Pipeline Health, has attempted to close the hospital due to financial instability.

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