Michael Reese Hospital likely to close

CHICAGO Michael Reese, 2929 S. Ellis, is one of Chicago's oldest hospitals, opening more than 120 years ago. The hospital is located on a 37-acre campus on Chicago's South Side. That land is very valuable real estate. In fact, the city already has plans to build an Olympic village right next door if Chicago is awarded the 2016 Games.

No one will say if the property is promised to the Olympics committee. Medline Industries actually owns the property. A spokesman for Medline would only say they are weighing their options. In the meantime, the staff of Michael Reese is out of options. After looking at possible sales or mergers, the hospital plans to close.

Michael Reese Hospital opened in 1881. Initially it was a hospital serving Chicago's immigrant population. The hospital has had its ups and downs over the years; mostly downs recently, including filing for bankruptcy five years ago. Now it appears the end is imminent.

"This is not good news for the patient population on the South Side," said Ald. Toni Preckwinkle.

Michael Reese is in Alderman Toni Preckwinkle's 4th Ward.

"This is a great loss. It is a loss for people who are patients and a loss for the workforce. It is discouraging," said Preckwinkle.

Edward Green Represents Michael Reese Medical Center Corporation. He sent a letter to the state which essentially starts the process to close the hospital.

"The hospital has been experiencing financial difficulties, literally, for the last several years. And I think that is fairly public knowledge that this hospital hasn't been doing well financially," said Green.

The letter of intent went to the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board. It informs the state of the hospital's plan to discontinue service due to financial stress.

The next phase in the hospital's closing will afford the public an opportunity to speak out.

"The department offers an opportunity within the community for the convening of a public hearing. And at that time, anybody may come and present pro, con, or indifference to the application," said Jeffrey Mark, Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board.

Alderman Preckwinkle will bring the issue before the city's health committee next week. She says she's been trying to insure the more than 700 employees will get help in new job placement. The committee meeting will also include public testimony.

If the closure gets the state's approval the hospital could close by the end of the year.

Copyright © 2023 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.