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Four South Side hospitals call off $1.1 billion merger plan after state lawmakers fail to allocate funding

Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Chicago Tribune
by Lisa Schencker

Four struggling South Side hospitals have halted plans to combine into a new system, after the state legislature ended its session without allocating funding for the project.

Advocate Trinity Hospital in Calumet Heights, Mercy Hospital & Medical Center in Bronzeville, South Shore Hospital in South Chicago and St. Bernard Hospital in Englewood had planned to join forces as part of a $1.1 billion project that included building at least one new hospital and up to half a dozen community health centers. It’s possible one or more of the existing hospitals would have closed as part of that plan.

“After carefully evaluating the eleventh-hour shift in the legislation establishing the Hospital Transformation Fund, we have determined that we see no path forward for our project that would transform health care on the South Side and help address disparities in health for the patients we serve,” the leaders of the four hospitals said in a letter to the head of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services on Tuesday.

“We have grave concerns about this development, and we believe this action will force hospital closures, cause further service cuts, and push access to care even further out of reach for the families we serve,” the letter said.

Funding was to come from the four hospitals and their parent organizations, donations and from the state’s hospital transformation fund. But the state money failed to materialize in the legislature’s most recent special session.

More to come.



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