Illinois Supreme Court issues stay, ordering Westlake Hospital to stay open for now

MELROSE PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- The Illinois Supreme Court issued a stay of an earlier appellate court ruling, forcing the owners of Westlake Hospital to keep the facility open and operational for the time being.

A lower court issued a temporary restraining order to keep the Melrose Park's hospital open and serving patients after owners Pipeline Health announced they will close it.

The Illinois Appellate Court on Thursday ruled unanimously the village of Melrose Park had no grounds to request a temporary restraining order against Pipeline . Village officials asserted the hospital's closure would adversely affect the community.

Earlier this week, Cook County Circuit Judge Moshe Jacobius said Pipeline Health must restore services at the 225-bed hospital by Thursday or will be fined $200,000 a day.

The Illinois Supreme Court ruling ensures the hospital will stay open for the time being while legal proceedings continue.

"The people of Melrose Park will not allow Pipeline Health to trample on us," said Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico. "Pipeline thinks that the law doesn't apply to them but it does. We'll do everything we can to hold them accountable."

The California-based company said the hospital is losing roughly $2 million a month. It remained in bypass status and is refusing patients and all new admissions as of earlier this week.

Those opposed to the closure have accused Pipeline of manufacturing a crisis after promising to keep the hospital open for at least two years.

"Displaced patients, mostly people of color, don't have other options for health care. Westlake Hospital is a critical asset for Melrose Park and surrounding communities in the Chicagoland area," U.S. Rep. Chuy Garcia said.

The Illinois State Health Facilities and Services Review Board is expected to make a decision about whether the hospital will stay open for good by April 30.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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