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Reese Hospital may close, join with county.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times
by STEVE PATTERSON

Michael Reese Hospital could be closing its South Side facility, and its leaders are in talks on merging operations with Cook County-run Provident Hospital.

Though talks are in the early stages, leaders at both facilities cited the financial struggles of the privately owned Michael Reese and cuts to services at taxpayer-funded Provident as providing common ground.

"Because of economic pressures and challenges, there's a great danger that this community is soon going to be facing less services rather than more," said Michael Reese CEO Dr. Enrique Beckmann. "Whether it means merging or transferring services or some kind of working arrangement, I don't know . . . but the objective is to make sure this community gets the services it needs."

Cook County Bureau of Health Director Dr. Robert Simon called it "a phenomenal opportunity to merge Michael Reese with Provident," though "everything's in flux. No one knows what's going to happen."

Reese is a full-service hospital, while Provident is a smaller facility. Reese officials have toured Provident, but Simon said "the hangup becomes politics. Who runs it? Who oversees it?"

Merging staffs also likely would mean massive layoffs.



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