Major changes being considered for Our Lady of Resurrection Medical
by CYRYL JAKUBOWSKI
Officials from Presence Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center, 5645 W. Addison St., are exploring options that would change the function of the hospital from an inpatient facility to an outpatient and primary care facility with an emergency room, according to Alderman Timothy Cullerton (38th).
Cullerton said that his office has received calls from numerous constituents about rumors that the Northwest Side hospital would eventually be closing.
Cullerton said that as a result of those rumors he arranged a meeting with hospital officials and state and local government representatives last week and they assured him that the hospital would not be closing but rather changing in the future.
“They gave a presentation about some of their proposed plans about their intentions and that their presence in our community would be diminished and that they were thinking about going from an in-house facility to a more patient care business,” Cullerton said.
Cullerton said that the hospital was not closing, but it would be changing in response to the current health care environment.
“According to OLR, they said that the facility is about $20 million in the red and that it is not profitable,” Cullerton said. “So I said that I have been hearing two stories about this and that I wanted to hear from everybody including the hospital staff and doctors because they are saying that those numbers are inflated.”
Presence Health spokeswoman Maria Salemi said that closing of the hospital is not being discussed at all. Of the options being discussed, the board of directors for Presence would have to approve any changes, she said.
"What is happening is that OLR is being looked at to meet the needs of healthcare in the community,” Salemi said. “Health care is changing and as an organization we are looking at a number of options and if those options are being met at OLR. We are not closing. Closing is not one of the options.”
Cullerton said that hospital officials have told him that there is a downward shift in the need for in-patient care and that demand for such care has decreased by 8 percent in Illinois and by 10 percent in the nation. OLR staff also said that their operating losses have been between $7 million and $10 million each year for the past 5 or 6 years, Cullerton said.
“The community has been very supportive of this hospital for the past five or six decades and we would not like it to leave,” Cullerton said. “They say that the beds are not being filled and they certainly can do what they want because things are changing in the health care business, but I am concerned.”
State Representative John Mulroe (D-10) said that Presence is worried that only 80 out of 269 beds at the hospital typically are occupied.
“They seem to think that they need to restructure that business,” Mulroe said. “It sounds to me that they are going to go where the business is going, which is more about outpatient services and not inpatient care.
“OLR had been losing money and I think it would be in their best interest to be transparent about their profits and tell people what is going on,” Mulroe said.
Cullerton said that officials are planning on keeping the emergency room, but that in order for that to happen, they must keep at least 100 beds at the hospital in accordance with state law. Cullerton said that a meeting is planned in the near future with the stakeholders as well as state and local representatives and others about the plans.
“Some services would be diminished like obstetrics and pediatrics but I don’t know how that would work,” he said. “My primary concern is how this will affect the community and what is going to happen. I want people to be transparent about this.”
“I told them bluntly that to me this is an abandonment of our community and that some of the people feel that way,” Cullerton said. “But the jury is still out on this and we will keep our eyes open about this.”
In response to some of the plans, a Web site has been set up at www.olrourhospital.org that contains a petition to “save the hospital.”
“The proposed conversion to a lesser service facility will endanger the well being of our community,” the Web site states.
The hospital is part of Presence Health, the largest Catholic health system in the state that was created in 2011 through the merger of Provena Health and Resurrection Health Care.
Presence has 12 hospitals and about 22,000 employees, 4,000 medical professionals and a $3 billion revenue base.
The hospital has been providing healthcare to the Northwest Side since 1955, according to the Presence Web site. An inensive care unit opened in 1969 and the hospital was formed as a non-for-profit facility in 1968. Its name changed from Northwest Hospital to the John F. Kennedy Medical Center in 1986.
The hospital became a part of Resurrection Health Care in 1988. The current hospital has 269-licensed beds.
Chicago-based Resurrection Health Care and Mokena-based Provena Health reached an agreement on a merger that created the largest Catholic health care provider in the state in 2011.
Resurrection operated six hospitals — Resurrection Medical Center, 7435 W. Talcott Ave., Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center, 5645 W. Addison St., Saint Joseph Hospital, 2900 N. Lake Shore Drive, Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center, 2233 W. Division St., Holy Family Medical Center, 100 N. River Road, Des Plaines, and Saint Francis Hospital, 355 Ridge Ave., Evanston. The health care system was sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth and the Sisters of the Resurrection.
Provena operated six hospitals — Provena Covenant Medical Center in Urbana, Provena Mercy Medical Center in Aurora, Provena Saint Joseph Hospital in Elgin, Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, Provena Saint Mary’s Hospital in Kankakee and Provena United Samaritans Medical Center in Danville. Provena health ministries were sponsored by the Franciscan Sister of the Sacred Heart, the Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary and the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.
More than 4.5 million people live in the areas served by Resurrection and Provena. In addition to the dozen hospitals, the system encompasses 29 long-term care and senior residential facilities, some 50 primary and specialty care clinics and six home health agencies.