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Illinois Regulators Say Mercy Hospital Must Stay Open For Now

Submitted by Ms Gray

Protestors gather outside of Loyola University Health Center to protest the closing of Mercy Hospital a part of the Trinity group of hospitals on December 8, 2020. Manuel Martinez / WBEZ

Illinois regulators have unanimously rejected historic Mercy Hospital’s request to close.

Saying they feared that patients would have less access to medical care, especially in a pandemic, regulators on Tuesday noted that Mercy’s emergency department in particular is critical to the surrounding communities, treating nearly 60,000 patients. It’s one of the busiest emergency departments in Chicago.

“I do not believe that Mercy has made a reasonable case that their services will not have an extremely negative impact on the South Side of Chicago,” said Dr. Linda Rae Murray, a Chicago health disparities expert. “As a public health person, I am really distressed this is going on in the midst of a global pandemic.”

Murray is one of six board members on the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, which decides the fate of health care projects to prevent duplication of services.

The vote was unusual. The board rarely rejects hospital closures. That’s partly because there’s this reality: Mercy says it’s running out of money. And as staff leave, it could create patient safety issues.

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