* Crain’s Chicago Business on February 15, 2019…
Just two weeks after acquiring three former Tenet Healthcare hospitals, Pipeline Health has plans to shutter one of them.
The impending closure of Westlake Hospital was announced late Feb. 15 by the village of Melrose Park. Dr. Eric Whitaker, vice chair and principal of Los Angeles-based Pipeline, called Democratic state Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch of Westchester, a member of the hospital’s board of trustees, late in the day to share the news.
Whitaker is best known as the founder of Chicago-based health care investment firm TWG Partners, which was previously involved in the purchase with Pipeline, and as a friend of former President Barack Obama. He confirmed in a Feb. 16 interview that Pipeline intends to file an application with the state to discontinue service at the 230-bed community hospital.
[Whitaker] added: “We didn’t come into the purchase with the idea of, ‘Let’s buy two hospitals and let’s close one.’ We wanted to build a community hospital system in the Chicagoland area to make these one-off hospitals, that are highly vulnerable, viable again.”
* Crain’s last week…
Westlake closed nearly seven months after Pipeline Health acquired the 230-bed hospital in 2019. Despite public statements to the contrary, the firm never intended to keep the hospital open, according to court filings in the bankruptcy proceeding of the entity that Pipeline formed to acquire Westlake.
“Pursuant to the party’s acquisition agreement, the Westlake Hospital was required to be shut down by June 5th of that same year,” bankruptcy trustee representative Allen Guon said during a hearing last November, according to a court transcript.
The provision requiring the closure of Westlake, which hasn’t been reported before, directly contradicts many statements made by Pipeline and its representatives during the acquisition process and transition.
* After major shakeup, West Sub pulled from the brink — for now