Hospital Sale Draws Protests

Hospital Sale Draws Protests

The proposed sale of two suburban hospitals is drawing protests from community groups and a major union. They fear the hospitals are headed for closure.

The sale would move Westlake Hospital and West Suburban Medical Center from a non-profit chain into a for-profit one. Nashville–based Vanguard Health Systems wants to buy the hospitals for about $40 million . They’ve promised to keep the facilities open for two years. What happens after that is what worries Elcie Redmond of the South Austin Coalition.

REDMOND: Our concern is that we’ve already lost hospitals. We lost Bethany hospital several years ago. We feel that Vanguard needs to make some sort of long-term commitment to the Austin – Oak Park community.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees slammed the proposed sale in a report out today. AFSCME has been trying to organize employees at the hospitals.

A spokesman for the would-be seller, Resurrection Health Care, says his company can’t afford to keep running the hospitals as they are. And Vanguard says through a spokesman that it doesn’t buy hospitals in order to close them.