Press Release: Blue Island Community Needs Metro South Medical Center to Stay Open

State Lawmakers Call on the Health Facilities and Services Review Board to Hold Public Hearing on Fate of Metro South Being Shutdown and the Impact to South Suburbs

CONTACT: Scott.Vogel@seiuhcil.org

(June 24th, 2019, CHICAGO)—State lawmakers, Metro South Medical Center workers, civic leaders and residents convened a press conference today to call for a public hearing to keep Metro South open and a thriving healthcare provider that serves the greater Blue Island community.

State Representatives from the region including Robert Rita (28th District), William Davis (30th District), and Justin Slaughter (27th District) along with Senator Emil Jones III (14th District) sent a letter to the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board (HFSRB) calling for a public hearing and requested that the agency’s board members attend the hearing in person.

Hospital workers also demanded answers and accountability from Quorum Health Corp, the for-profit parent company that announced that the company would close Metro South in November 2019 if they can’t secure another provider to take over the operation. Closing Metro South would mean the loss of an acute care hospital and reduce healthcare access for a largely Hispanic and African-American community, and an estimated 1,000 jobs lost and a huge economic blow to the south suburban area.

Anne Igoe, the Vice-President of the Health Systems Division for SEIU Healthcare Illinois, spoke at today’s press conference and issued the following statement:

“We are proud to stand with our state lawmakers who represent the far south side and south suburbs and who are demanding real accountability from the hospital industry and the Illinois Hospital Association.

“Quorum Health Corporation’s public statements and threats to shutdown Metro South is an example of the arrogance and complete lack of concern for communities of color. It’s why we continue to call a ‘Code Blue’ on the entire hospital industry and highlight the fact that hospitals care most about their bottom lines over delivering quality patient care and living up to their core mission to foster healthy families and communities.

“For-profit hospitals like Metro South Medical Center shouldn’t be allowed to open and close based solely on how much profit they are earning. Communities, families, and hospital workers must also have a real voice on these critical issues of having access to vital healthcare.

“We agree with the state lawmakers who spoke at today’s press conference that Illinois is still retooling state government under the leadership of Governor Pritzker who is adopting and implementing policies to expand healthcare and to invest in working families.

“The Blue Island community deserves the opportunity – and frankly the time – to find a new hospital system to takeover and keep Metro South delivering quality healthcare that the community’s needs.

“Finally, as we have stated before, it’s time for state lawmakers to limit the power, influence and clout of the Illinois Hospital Association and enact legislation to empower the Hospital Review Board and stakeholders with more authority to regulate the hospital industry.”

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