WBEZ | oak forest hospital http://www.wbez.org/tags/oak-forest-hospital Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Oak Forest Hospital to close by month's end http://www.wbez.org/story/oak-forest-hospital-close-months-end-90683 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-16/P1080506.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Activists who lost their fight to preserve Oak Forest Hospital now say they’re going to focus on holding Cook County to its commitments.</p><p>A state board Tuesday approved the county’s plan to close the hospital and replace it with a regional outpatient center. Patients, unions and community activists managed to stave off the closure twice before. But at Tuesday’s meeting of the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, the county won the day.</p><p>Organizers say now the task is to make Cook County honor its pledge not to abandon south suburbanites.</p><p>“Let us take those concerns and be very vigilant,” said William McNary of Citizen Action Illinois, calling the vote expected but disappointing. “Don’t give up today. Because those health care needs are still going to continue beyond what they do here.”</p><p>McNary sits on an advisory board set up by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. He vowed to make sure the outpatient center offers the best possible care and to press neighboring hospitals to follow through on their promise to absorb Oak Forest patients.&nbsp;</p><p>Many of the opponents sat through the four-hour meeting holding protest signs, and some even cried “genocide” as the vote was unfolding.</p><p>President Preckwinkle said she understands the anxiety, but condemns the rhetoric.</p><p>“To suggest the people on the independent governing board or the health care professionals are motivated by genocidal impulses is demeaning and extremely unfortunate,” Preckwinkle said after the vote.</p><p>The county made several concessions to opponents, including agreeing to run an immediate care facility on the site around the clock. Ultimately, new appointments to a state regulatory board gave Cook County the votes it lacked in two previous efforts to pass the plan.</p><p>County officials say they plan to discontinue hospital operations by the end of August and immediately begin phasing in the clinic services.</p></p> Wed, 17 Aug 2011 02:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/oak-forest-hospital-close-months-end-90683 Illinois board approves controversial plan to close Oak Forest Hospital http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-hospital-board-vote-again-controversial-plan-close-oak-forest-hospital-90607 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-16/Ambulance_Getty_Kevork Dejansezian.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><strong>Updated at 3:42 p.m. on 8/16/11</strong></p><p>A state health planning board has voted to approve Cook County's controverial plan to close Oak Forest Hospital.</p><p>The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board voted 7-1 Tuesday in favor of the proposal.&nbsp; One board member voted present.&nbsp; All three new board members appointed recently by Gov. Pat Quinn voted for the county's plan.</p><p>But the vote included a condition requesting county officials return in one year to update the board on the implementation of their plan to convert the hospital to a regional outpatient center.&nbsp; The board also requested the that the county inform the board if they encounter any difficulty getting other local hospitals to take former Oak Forest patients.</p><p>The county now plans to close the hospital by Sept. 1.</p><p>Cook County has tried for months to close inpatient services at Oak Forest Hospital and downsize operations at the 213-bed facility.</p><p>Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle says Oak Forest is currently underutilized and the changes will save the county's health system an estimated $2 million per month.</p><p>No hospitals can shut down in Illinois until the nine-member state board gives the green light to do so.</p><p>The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board has authority over hospital closures - a power most states don't have.</p><p>In May, the Board previously blocked Cook County's efforts to close and convert Oak Forest Hospital. At the time, the nine-member board had three vacancies. In June, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn filled those slots with three new appointees.</p><p>The county since revised its plan, proposing to establish a 24-hour immediate care center at the facility, rather than one with shorter hours.</p><p>The proposals to eliminate services at Oak Forest Hospital prompted protests from some nearby residents who said the moves will deny the south suburban residents access to health care.</p><p>A report from the Illinois Department of Public Health also says closing the hospital would increase the shortage of intensive-care and long-term care beds in the already underserved area.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 16 Aug 2011 05:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-hospital-board-vote-again-controversial-plan-close-oak-forest-hospital-90607 Preckwinkle lashes out at county health board http://www.wbez.org/story/preckwinkle-lashes-out-county-health-board-87293 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-01/P1010755.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle had some cutting words Wednesday for some of her fellow officials, as the county retrenches following failed efforts to close a south suburban hospital.&nbsp;</p><p>Preckwinkle laid much of the blame on the independent board that oversees the health and hospitals system. She said the board failed to make the case for closing the hospital and replacing it with a regional outpatient clinic.</p><p>“Quite frankly, our health care system has done an abysmal job of explaining its strategic plan to the public and winning support for it,” she said.</p><p>She knocked the health system for doing little outreach and not enlisting supporters to speak out. The health system did hold extensive public meetings, but Preckwinkle called them “abysmally ineffective.” A spokesman for the health system declined to comment on Preckwinkle’s barbs.</p><p>Preckwinkle also had an icy assessment of Governor Pat Quinn’s role in the matter.</p><p>“The kindest thing I can say is I’m disappointed,” she said.</p><p>Quinn’s office didn’t immediately return calls for comment.</p><p>A last-ditch effort to pass legislation that would let the County close the hospital faded in Springfield Tuesday, handing Preckwinkle a legislative defeat.</p><p>The south suburban hospital will keep its emergency room and its handful of long-term care patients. Interim health system CEO Terry Mason says that will cost money.</p><p>“It is money that will have to come from somewhere else, either in the system or from the County,” Mason said. “It could mean fewer services in another community, or closing other community clinics.”</p><p>Mason put the price tag at about $2 million a month above what’s in the budget, but he gave few details to explain that number. Closing the hospital had been expected to save the county $10 million over the next six months.</p><p>County officials said they would take their case back to state regulators later this year, with some concessions to opponents, such as providing 24-hour-a-day urgent care services.&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 01 Jun 2011 20:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/preckwinkle-lashes-out-county-health-board-87293 Oak Forest Hospital faces new future as outpatient clinic http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-31/oak-forest-hospital-faces-new-future-outpatient-clinic-87221 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-May/2011-05-31/Quentin Young.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://www.cchil.org/dom/oak.html" target="_blank">Oak Forest Hospital</a> has recently been caught up in a stew of politics and health. Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle and other officials hope to close inpatient care at the hospital and transform it into an outpatient clinic.<br> <br> But earlier in May, the <a href="http://www.idph.state.il.us/about/hfpb/">Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board</a> ruled against that move.<a href="http://hmprg.org/about/quentin-young/" target="_blank"> Dr. Quentin Young’s</a> been watching the development quite closely, and he supports the efforts to convert the hospital to an outpatient clinic.<br> <br> He joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to discuss the history and possible closure of Oak Forest Hospital.</p></p> Tue, 31 May 2011 14:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-31/oak-forest-hospital-faces-new-future-outpatient-clinic-87221 State legislature may intervene in hospital fight http://www.wbez.org/story/state-legislature-may-intervene-hospital-fight-86784 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-19/IMG_3615.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>An Illinois lawmaker is trying to release Cook County from the authority of a state board, with the fate of a south suburban hospital hanging in the balance. House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie introduced an amendment yesterday to exempt Cook County from rulings by a board charged with regulating health facilities in Illinois. That board twice rejected a county plan to close Oak Forest Hospital and replace it with a regional clinic.</p><p>Rep. Currie, a Democrat, said the county isn’t legally obligated to provide health care at all. And furthermore, she said the county is a home-rule entity and should control its own fate.</p><p>"This is an amendment that would say the health facilities planning board cannot tell Cook County what to do when it comes to providing health care services to the residents of Cook County," she said.</p><p>The amendment has been sent to the House Rules Committee, which Currie herself chairs.</p><p>Lynda DeLaforgue of Citizen Action Illinois, who has been campaigning to keep the hospital open, is denouncing the amendment, as well as County Board President Toni Preckwinkle for supporting it.</p><p>"President Preckwinkle ran on a ticket of reform," DeLaforgue said. “Reform certainly [does] not mean that you should end-run a process when it doesn’t go your way – especially with last-minute legislation, like this."</p><p>The County had planned to shutter the hospital by June 1st. It’s still not clear what will happen on that date, as many staff positions there are only budgeted through the end of May.</p><p>Rep. Currie said she intends the legislation, if passed, to effectively throw out the state board’s decision and free the county to close the hospital. Health system spokesman Lucio Guerrero said that’s likely how Cook County officials would interpret it as well.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 19 May 2011 20:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/state-legislature-may-intervene-hospital-fight-86784 State kills Cook County plan to close hospital http://www.wbez.org/story/state-kills-cook-county-plan-close-hospital-86347 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-10/IMG_3636.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Cook County will not be allowed to shut down a south suburban hospital at the end of the month, after a state board took a second and decisive vote Tuesday to deny the county’s plan to close Oak Forest Hospital and replace it with a regional outpatient center.</p><p>It took just one person’s vote to knock the proposal down. Ronald Eaken of Urbana sits on the Health Facilities and Services Review Board, and he said he remained concerned that closing the hospital would reduce patients’ access to care. Because of vacancies on the board and one absence, Cook County would have needed all five members present to vote yes.</p><p>Dozens of workers and activists leaped up and cheered when the ruling came down. County officials sat stone-faced at a table before the board members. County Board President Toni Preckwinkle later said the system’s board and county commissioners will have to review their options.</p><p>“Well I’m very disappointed,” Preckwinkle said. “It’s kind of back to the drawing board for us.”</p><p>The vote represents a major snag for the county health system’s strategic plan, some two years in the making. It gets complicated now, as the county only budgeted salaries for Oak Forest employees for half a year. Some staffing and services have already been wound down.</p><p>Meanwhile, advocates like Joyce Edmond hailed the decision, saying it means a reprieve for her mother, an Oak Forest cancer patient.</p><p>“It’s gonna mean a lot, because my mom is 84,” Edmond said. “We cannot travel to Stroger Hospital and wait 36 hours. No. That is just impossible.”</p><p>Activists say they hope the county will take a fresh look at its entire strategic plan.&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 10 May 2011 21:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/state-kills-cook-county-plan-close-hospital-86347 Oak Forest Hospital to stay open http://www.wbez.org/story/oak-forest-hospital-stay-open-86331 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/cityroom_20100715_gspitzer_717291_Big _large.png" alt="" /><p><p>An Illinois board has voted down the proposed closure of a Chicago-area hospital that serves low income patients.</p><p>The Illinois Health Facilities Review Board made their decision to keep open Oak Forest Hospital during a meeting Tuesday in Joliet.</p><p>In doing so, the board rejected Cook County's request to close the hospital.</p><p>Dozens of protesters who showed up to oppose the closing erupted into cheers upon hearing the board's announcement. Some held large photos of Oak Forest patients who would have been forced into nursing homes if the hospital closed.</p><p>Cook County officials say the vote will cause great difficulty to the county's health system.</p><p>The county had planned to close the south suburban hospital June 1. It wanted to convert the facility to a large outpatient care center as part of a money-saving plan to re-balance the county's health services.</p><p>This is the second time the county has been unable to convince the board of its proposal.&nbsp; At its last meeting in March, the board also rejected the plan after protestors disrupted the meeting and helped persuade two board members to vote no.</p><p>Dr. Terry Mason made the county’s case this time, just one day into his new job as interim CEO of the hospital system.</p><p>Lynda DeLaforgue, co-director of Citizen Action Illinois, says the board's vote on Tuesday gives the county a chance to reevaluate its strategic plan for health care and keep the hospital open.</p></p> Tue, 10 May 2011 18:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/oak-forest-hospital-stay-open-86331 Oak Forest Hospital hangs in the balance http://www.wbez.org/story/oak-forest-hospital-hangs-balance-86280 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-10/IMG_1354.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The fate of Cook County’s Oak Forest Hospital could be decided Tuesday in Joliet, where the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board will hear an appeal from Cook County today. At its last meeting, the board rejected a proposal to close Oak Forest hospital and replace it with expanded outpatient services. Protestors disrupted that March meeting and helped persuade two board members to vote no.</p><p>Dr. Terry Mason will be making the county’s case this time, just one day into his new job as interim CEO of the hospital system. He said the wild atmosphere at the last meeting didn’t help the county’s cause.</p><p>“There was a number of distractions that prevented the board members from actually hearing the testimonies that were given,” Mason said. “It would be my hope this time that we would have a different environment.”</p><p>It’s not clear he’s going to get it: Union and community organizers were planning to bus people to Joliet Tuesday morning for the hearing. They say closing Oak Forest would be a hardship on patients in the south suburbs, especially the uninsured.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 10 May 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/oak-forest-hospital-hangs-balance-86280 Cook County hospitals chief steps down http://www.wbez.org/story/cook-county/cook-county-hospitals-chief-steps-down-84240 <p><p>The head of Cook County's hospital system is quitting his post.</p><p>William Foley has led the country's third largest public health system since 2009. In a statement yesterday, he did not give a reason for stepping down.</p><p>Foley's announcement comes as he's been pushing a controversial move to close a county hospital in Chicago's south suburbs. Earlier this week, Illinois officials rejected the idea to close Oak Forest Hospital and turn it into an outpatient center.</p><p>In a statement, County Board President Toni Preckwinkle praises Foley for improving the health system's finances.</p><p>The Cook County Health and Hospitals System's board of directors is expected to appoint an interim CEO on Friday.</p></p> Fri, 25 Mar 2011 12:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/cook-county/cook-county-hospitals-chief-steps-down-84240 State board rejects Cook County plan to close Oak Forest Hospital http://www.wbez.org/story/cook-county/state-board-rejects-cook-county-plan-close-oak-forest-hospital-84053 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-21/IMG_1360.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A state board has rejected Cook County&rsquo;s plan to close south suburban Oak Forest Hospital, but the proposal is almost certain to come up again.</p><p>The county says closing Oak Forest Hospital and replacing it with an enhanced outpatient clinic would save money and provide more care. Some members of the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board weren&rsquo;t convinced and <a href="http://www.hfsrb.illinois.gov/mar11sars/6.%2010-078%20OAK%20FOREST%20HOSPITAL.pdf">expressed concerns the closure would harm patient care.</a></p><p>They declared an &ldquo;intent to deny&rdquo; the county&rsquo;s request, but not before dozens of protestors temporarily shut down the hearing with heckling and chants of &ldquo;save our hospital.&rdquo; Chairman Dale Galassie called a 15-minute recess and urged protestors to quiet down.</p><p>When the board reconvened, members had sharp questions for county health officials about where Oak Forest patients would go in an area with few health care options. Then, two board members voted no, enough to turn back the proposal.</p><p>Protestors cheered the ruling, but said they knew the fight wasn&rsquo;t over. The county can resubmit its request with more information, which the health system&rsquo;s CEO said he plans to do. He said trading the hospital&rsquo;s emergency room and in-patient beds for more outpatient care would fill a more pressing need.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s only so much we can do,&rdquo; said CEO Bill Foley.&rdquo; We can actually expand access by doing this, but any time you talk about shutting down or closing services, I think you get that kind of reaction.&rdquo;</p><p>Foley said the county would have a new submission ready for the state board&rsquo;s next meeting in May.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 21 Mar 2011 22:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/cook-county/state-board-rejects-cook-county-plan-close-oak-forest-hospital-84053