Updated 06/05/13 – 4:30 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – Governor Quinn today announced that the state of Illinois will provide temporary emergency assistance for Roseland Community Hospital to remain open.
The stopgap funding is designed to provide time for a long-term turnaround plan.
Approximately $350,000 in temporary assistance will allow the hospital to continue to serve the community, the governor said in a news release.
“We wanted to give them the time and the tools to be able to come up with a longer term plan,” said Deputy Governor Cristal Thomas.
Facing $7 million in debt to vendors, Roseland Community Hospital officials had said they had until 5 p.m. Wednesday to decide on whether to close the hospital.
“Roseland Community Hospital is an anchor in the community and we will do what we can to protect the patients and employees,” Quinn said.
“It gives us hope and gives us another fighting chance to keep this hospital open We know that it is just a temporary fix and hopefully everyone can come to an agreement and we can make this work,” said Nicole Creamer, an emergency room worker at the hospital.
WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports the hospital was still accepting new patients on Wednesday, despite a threat by former CEO that it would start turning them away on Wednesday without help from the state.
President and CEO Dian Powell said Tuesday she was stepping down, but sources said she was forced out. On Monday, she had claimed the state owed Roseland $6 million, but Thurman later said that was not true.
“Suffice it to say a mistake was made and we have clarified the matter,” Thurman said.
In fact, a few weeks ago, the state gave the hospital an advance of more than $950,000 on money it estimated it would owe Roseland this year, in an effort to help keep the hospital running.
However, the hospital still owes $7 million to vendors and needs to eliminate that debt to remain viable.
Sources said Powell was forced out after she authorized several ill-advised decisions that cost the cash-strapped hospital millions of dollars.
Thurman said hospital executives have been talking with the governor’s office in an effort to show the state how it plans to pay its bills in the future. That would mean cutting $700,000 a month in costs; including through layoffs, pay cuts, and eliminating consultants.
At least 68 employees were laid off earlier this year, and 47 others have taken pay cuts by taking one furlough day every two-week pay period, in an effort to stem the hospital’s financial losses.
The governor’s office has said his top health advisers have met repeatedly with hospital officials in recent weeks, but the hospital has not come up with a viable long-term plan to run the hospital.
According to the governor’s office, the hospital’s board has mismanaged its finances, including using capital funding for operations.
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.
Meantime, Thurman said the Illinois Department of Public Health surprised the hospital with a three-day inspection of hospital operations.