Westlake Hospital owners agree to keep operating; critical hearing slated for next week

MELROSE PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- The owners of Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park told a Cook County judge Monday that they will abide by all the conditions set out in a temporary restraining order issued nearly two weeks ago.

A critical hearing will be held next Tuesday weeks after Pipeline Health, which runs Westlake, threatened to shutter the hospital.

Westlake Hospital will continue to remain open and operating after Pipeline Health agreed in court keep providing the same level of services and promised not to terminate any employees or contracts as set out in the temporary restraining order issued on April 9.

The Cook County State's Attorney sought to intervene and join the temporary restraining order, but the judge said that wasn't necessary. On Monday, the judge did grant an emergency motion by Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx to join Melrose Park in their fight to keep the hospital open.

READ: Letter from Pipeline to Mayor Ron Serpico

Next Tuesday, a state board that oversees hospitals will decide whether Pipeline can close Westlake or not.

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Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx joined the fight to keep Westlake Hospital in west suburban Melrose Park from closing.

Gov. JB Pritzker's office said he is monitoring the situation and will work with stakeholders on this situation.

Several elected leaders called on the governor and Illinois attorney general to get involved.

"This is a moral cause and all the stakeholder who I stand here with understand the nature of what is at stake here," said U.S. Rep. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, D-Chicago.
Congressman Garcia joined Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth in signing a letter to the CEO of Pipeline urging him to comply with all state rules and provide the promised care, which the new hospital owners are accused of violating almost from the time they purchased Westlake in January. They then quickly moved to sell it.

READ: Letter to Pipeline from Durbin, Duckworth and Garcia

"What is happening here is wrong. What is happening here is going to bring violence to our communities when there is a lack of access to care," said Anne Igoe, VP SEIU Illinois/Indiana.

"They promised in their application, in their change of ownership documents with the state that they wouldn't make any changes to the hospital for at least two years. They promised that they wouldn't make any change to the charity care policy. 47 for at least two years," said state Rep. Chris Welch, D-7th District.

Pipeline's CEO fired off his own letter to the mayor Melrose Park asking that a $500,000 redevelopment agreement that was terminated in December be restored.

A village spokesman said that agreement was with the previous owner and was not transferable.
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