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Activists Fear Roseland Hospital’s Financial Troubles Will Prompt Closure

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Roseland Community Hospital (Credit: CBS)

Roseland Community Hospital (Credit: CBS)

CBS Chicago (con't)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Activists have raised questions about the future of a South Side hospital, due to financial troubles.

Roseland Community Hospital needs millions of dollars to stay open, and protesters rallied outside the hospital Monday morning, fearing it could soon close.

However, the governor’s office said the state has not been notified of any plans for the hospital to close.

Community activists, including a local pastor, said the governor’s office told top administrators in a conference call on Sunday that the state could not provide millions of dollars needed to keep the facility open.

But a spokeswoman for Gov. Pat Quinn said the state never promised to commit any funding to help Roseland stay open; it only pledged to work with the hospital to identify possible sources of funding. She also said Roseland has not informed the state it plans to close.

The governor’s office said the state does not owe any money to Roseland, although it is aware the hospital has serious financial issues.

According to the governor’s office, the hospital’s board has mismanaged resources, including using capital funding for operations.

“The hospital and its board of directors have serious management issues that need to be addressed. Roseland Hospital is in deep debt and they have mismanaged their resources into the situation they are in today,” spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said in an email. “The governor is concerned about Roseland’s long term viability, and that’s why our top healthcare advisors have met with them repeatedly over the past six weeks, including yesterday. Unfortunately, they have failed to respond to our requests for a viable plan to properly run the hospital.”

The two sides were set to meet again this week.

The hospital provides medical care to low-income families – an estimated $25 million a year in free care for the poor.

Roseland neighborhood residents said it would be a huge detriment to the community if the hospital shuts down.

“To me it helps a lot, because you don’t have to go as far. A lot of people don’t have transportation, and being here in the community, I mean, if you have to walk to the hospital, you can get right here to it,” Robert Rhea said.

“We need this hospital, believe me. If they can do anything to help this hospital, please do it, because the distance we would have to go for another hospital is real bad. It’s a lot of elderly people that come here also,” fellow Roseland resident Jesse Moore said.

The hospital CEO and local leaders planned to hold a news conference at noon to discuss the situation.

Just last week, 68 hospital employees were laid off as officials waited to hear if the hospital would get a $7 million bailout from the state to stay open. Another 47 employees will take one unpaid furlough day during every two-week pay period.

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