by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | March 16, 2022
Pipeline Health is selling the last of its remaining Chicago area hospitals to Resilience Healthcare for $92 million.
The healthcare system has signed a letter of intent to sell West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park and Weiss Memorial Hospital in Uptown. The sale follows its controversial decision back in 2019 to shut down Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park, according to the Chicago Sun-Times
Pipeline and Resilience see the transaction as the right “opportunity to collaborate” and create a sustaining and service-oriented hospital from Weiss Memorial and West Suburban, said Pipeline CEO Andrei Soran in a statement. “Both parties are interested in a smooth and seamless transition. All hospital operations will continue as usual with quality, compassionate care delivered to all patients served.”
Pipeline also has a separate deal to sell a parking lot at Weiss Memorial and will use the proceeds from that to refund $12 million to Resilience Healthcare for reinvestment in the hospital. It has made “significant investments” of $60 million in both facilities since taking them over.
Along with Westlake, Pipeline bought Weiss Memorial and West Suburban from Tenet Healthcare in 2019 for $70 million. A safety-net hospital, West Suburban has 234 beds and services at-risk patients, while Weiss Memorial is a high Medicaid hospital with 236 beds.
But the hospital chose to close Westlake, despite originally promising to improve the safety-net hospital’s services. This led to months of protests and a legal battle between Pipeline and the village of Melrose Park, which was able to temporarily halt the closure with a restraining order. Governor J.B. Pritzker ousted two of his state board appointees, Julie Hamos and Michael Gelder, after they unanimously voted to approve the shut down, reported the Chicago Sun Times
at the time.
Former employees of Westlake filed a lawsuit against Pipeline in which they accused it of violating U.S. labor laws. But Westlake eventually conceded after filing for bankruptcy as it was losing nearly $3 million a month.
Following the shutdown, a new law was passed in 2021 that would make it easier for hospitals like Westlake to reopen. It eliminated the regulatory requirement for a potential buyer to receive a certification of need before reopening the hospital. But any prospective buyer must still commit to spending at least $20 million on any new construction, new equipment, and buying the land and building before reopening it. They also must continue a charity care policy that was in place at Westlake before it closed. Back to HCB News