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Mercy Hospital may stay open after all

Thursday, Mar 4, 2021

* WBEZ

Historic Mercy Hospital in Bronzeville, which is slated to close by May 31, is under a non-binding agreement to be sold.

That’s according to an email Mercy CEO Carol Schneider wrote to employees today and obtained by WBEZ.

Mercy’s owner, national Catholic hospital group Trinity Health, plans to sell Mercy on the Near South Side to Insight Chicago, a non-profit affiliated with a Flint, Mich.-based biomedical technology company.

“Insight Chicago will operate Mercy Hospital as a community hospital and will maintain ICU, Medical/Surgical, OB (non-high risk), Acute Mental Illness and Comprehensive Physical Rehabilitation categories of services,” Schneider wrote. “Insight Chicago will continue to operate Mercy Hospital’s ED as a basic Emergency Department.”

* Sun-Times

Mercy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February, saying it was losing staff and experiencing “mounting financial losses” which challenged its ability to maintain a safe environment. The move came just two weeks after a state review board rejected Trinity Health’s proposal to open an urgent care and diagnostic center on the South Side. The same board unanimously rejected a plan in December to close Mercy.

Mercy — which was the site of a deadly shooting in November 2018 — was set to merge with three other South Side hospitals struggling financially, though that plan fell through due to a lack of state funding.

Until the pending deal with Insight Chicago is signed, Mercy’s overall plans for the hospital remain unchanged, the hospital said. As of now, it’s expected to cease operation May 31. If the agreement is finalized before then, Mercy will help Insight Chicago in transitioning services, according to the statement.

* Tribune

“We plan on a hospital that meets the needs of this great community, while leveraging regional expertise of our health system,” said Dr. Jawad Shah, president and CEO of Insight, in an Insight news release. “We are committed to a thoughtful community engagement process to ensure access to care for Chicago’s diverse populations while achieving financial solvency.”

…Adding… Jordan Abudayyeh…

The Governor believes that healthcare is a right, not a privilege and that’s why his administration has worked tirelessly to exhaust every legal, legislative and administrative option to preserve healthcare access on the southside. The administration is hopeful that any potential buyer would provide the necessary services underserved communities need. And we encourage any buyer to meet with community stakeholders and legislators to better assess how they can work together to achieve better health outcomes for the community Mercy hospital serves. The state of Illinois has supported safety net hospitals throughout this pandemic, and with the General Assembly’s passage of health care transformation legislation, has even more tools to help providers meet the needs of the communities they serve.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

4 Comments
  1. - Chuck Button - Thursday, Mar 4, 21 @ 10:23 am:

    Kudos to the advocates who appear to have brought back Mercy … from the brink.


  2. - weeds - Thursday, Mar 4, 21 @ 11:06 am:

    Good for Mercy to get some grace from within the industry…

    If healthcare is a right, why the prohibitive costs for premiums where small business people have to use 20% or more of their income for policies that are basically just catastrophic in their practical application?

    More doublespeak from this Governor. There is nothing remotely tangential to “the right to healthcare” with that situation. Even Kaiser has identified the ridiculous donut hole of this.


  3. - Perrid - Thursday, Mar 4, 21 @ 11:42 am:

    Interesting to see if they can make it work. Trinity has been insisting that keeping it open as is is unsustainable, it seems like Insight has another opinion.

    As to the hospital being unsafe because they can’t keep staff, yeah, if my company had been trying its best to shut down for a year I’d be seeking another job too. It’s outright sabotage from the people at the top.


  4. - Rasselas - Thursday, Mar 4, 21 @ 12:49 pm:

    Keep an eye on the fine print of this deal. Insight seems to want to be a specialty hospital. But it is all but impossible to get approved for that within the Chicago region. But if you buy an existing hospital, keep it running for the required time frame (1 or 2 years), then shut everything you don’t want to do, you can evolve into the specialty hospital you always wanted. That’s basically what happened to Bethany on the west side in 2006.


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