MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island to close in September

BLUE ISLAND, Ill. (WLS) -- MetroSouth Medical Center in south suburban Blue Island will close next month.

Workers received letters Monday letting them know the hospital will shut down on September 30. Workers will continue to receive paychecks until the end of October.

Earlier this summer, hospital officials filed an application to close, saying they were losing money. Efforts to find a new operator have been unsuccessful.

In a statement, the hospital said, "In June, MetroSouth Medical Center filed an application with the Illinois Health Facilities and Service Review Board to discontinue hospital operations as it continued to search for a new operator to provide health care services on the campus. Representatives for the hospital have been diligent in their efforts to find a solution that would preserve at least a portion of the hospital's current services. Conversations with community stakeholders and outreach efforts are ongoing. However, at present we have no definitive agreement to purchase the hospital. We've had continued interest from a small number of parties but have yet to receive documentation of operational expertise or the financial resources necessary to continue MetroSouth as a full-service hospital. Unfortunately, since filing our application with the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, the hospital's operational and financial environment has become increasingly unstable. Financial losses are increasing and staffing levels are fluctuating by the hour. Approximately 10% of our employees have resigned or given notice. With a number of hospitals and health care facilities in close proximity to Metro South, many of our best colleagues have decided to take opportunities with competing organizations. Staffing challenges have forced us to temporarily suspend operation of our catheterization lab. While our emergency department remains open, suspension of the catheterization lab could impact our ability to effectively treat patients with cardiac distress and, at times, require us to divert high risk patients to other area providers. Because of these realities, the hospital will begin planning for discontinuation of services by Sept. 30, 2019. Hospital employees who remain through their termination dates will receive pay and benefits through Oct. 30, 2019. Despite these challenges, we continue to be amazed at the dedication and professionalism shown by our staff and volunteers during this time. They remain focused on our patients and we are eternally grateful."

State Sen. Bob Rita, D-Blue Island, issued a statement saying, "MetroSouth's announcement that they will shut down hospital operations with barely a month's notice is disappointing and unacceptable. For months, we have asked for additional time and continued negotiations to reach a solution that protects patient safety while creating stability for our medical professionals and the doctors and nurses who serve our community every day.

"This 11th hour decision to move up the hospital's closing date and put South Suburban patients at risk is reckless and irresponsible. Their application for closure to the Health Facilities and Services Review Board is not even up for review until Sept. 17 and they're already planning to close down two weeks later.

I'm asking my community to join me in opposing this last minute decision and urging the hospital executives to come to the table to find reasonable solutions that preserve access to our healthcare and protect our community's most vulnerable."
Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.