Planned closure of Illinois hospital concerns local Fil-Am workers

BLUE ISLAND, IL —  After over 100 years of providing health care services to the Blue Island community, MetroSouth Medical Center announced that it is closing by end of September.

The struggling 314-bed hospital, located 18 miles south of downtown Chicago, reportedly lost more than $8 million last year and is anticipated to lose more than $10 million this year.

The hospital’s filing of closure application in June was reportedly due to a decrease in patient volume, reduced reimbursements from the government and commercial payers, as well as rising operational costs.  10% of its employees have reportedly quit their jobs since the filing.

MetroSouth, the south suburb’s largest employer with 800 employees, would be the second Chicago-area hospital to close this year.

Last month, Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and has since closed.

According to Beckers Hospital Review, a total of eleven hospitals have officially closed this year all across America – due to various reasons.

According to a New Navigant analysis, one-in-five rural hospitals in America are at a high risk of closure unless their financial situation improves.

Doctor Gerardo Ismael Gueco, an active member of the Medical Executive Committee in America, said that some hospitals, specifically in the rural areas, are going through challenging times.

“Hospital [industry] is a business. They need to make money to keep the lights on. If they don’t generate money, what happens to the overhead expense — they are going to be overrun by so much budget cuts, layoffs — that people don’t realize.”

Gueco explained the top three factors that contribute to the challenges the hospital industry is facing.

“# 1 Location. If you’re located in a place where you’re dependent on a community on how they thrive, the moment big companies around you close, the level of admissions, and people being seen in the hospitals dwindle down.

 #2 The ever-changing landscape we have in the states wherein there is constant change in the healthcare industry such as the Affordable Care Act, RAC or Recovery Audit [Contractor]. // You need to adjust in this healthcare system so you can cope with their demands.

Thirdly, lack of physician provider leaders. There is an uptick of non-medical leaders who are not paired with providers.”

These Filipino hospital workers said they’re getting concerned about the future of their profession.

“Yes, of course, it is scary. Lahat naman ng field, we are all replaceable.”

“Of course, kasi, if you do not have any source of income, how will you support your families especially may newborn ako or yung lifestyle mo. And how will you support ‘yung healthcare needs niya if you do not have insurance as well.”

BA has reached out to MetroSouth Medical Center and they declined to issue any comments for now.

The closure is pending review by the Illinois Health and Facilities Review Board despite the facility operators announcing a closing date. The review board is expected to vote September 17th on the closure.

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