CHICAGO (CBS) — Provident Hospital of Cook County is no longer accepting ambulances at its emergency room.

The hospital says the move will save money, but it could put a major strain on other hospital emergency rooms around Chicago.

READ MORE: Transgender Attorneys Says Judges And Clerks Have Harassed Her; Fights For Change

The Cook County-operated hospital had planned to stop accepting ambulance runs in January. But the move was put off for a month so that the University of Chicago Medical Center and five other nearby hospitals could work on staffing changes in their emergency rooms and be sure they were prepared.

The county, which has been under pressure to reduce spending, seeks to transform Provident from an underutilized comprehensive hospital to a primary health care center, also phasing out much of its inpatient care. It intends to continue to accept walk-in emergency room patients, whom spokesman Lucio Guerrero said now comprise 88 percent of those seen by its ER doctors.

Provident in 2009 treated approximately 40,000 emergency patients, Guerrero said. Of that number, about 4,800 arrived by ambulance.

READ MORE: Death Investigation Underway After Man Found Unresponsive On CTA Red Line Platform In Old Town

In January, the University of Chicago Medical Center released a statement in which it said that its already-crowded adult emergency room could see a 50 percent increase in ambulance runs once Provident stopped accepting them.

Since 1986, six South Side hospitals have closed.

On Tuesday, Cook County cut 138 nursing jobs at Provident and county-operated Oak Forest Hospital. The county planned to cut the Provident nursing staff to 63 positions and the Oak Forest nursing staff to 23 positions.

Provident Hospital of Cook County is located at 500 E. 51st St., across from Washington Park.

MORE NEWS: Food Delivery Driver Shot And Killed While Sitting In Car In Little Italy

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)