CHICAGO (CBS) — A judge’s order to keep Westlake Hospital open has expired, a day after the Illinois Health Facilities & Services Review Board granted the owners’ request to shut down the hospital in 45 days, but Melrose Park officials vow to continue the fight to keep Westlake open.
The board voted 7-0 on Tuesday to allow Westlake Hospital to close, more than two months after Pipeline Health filed an application seeking to shut down the facility in Melrose Park.
Pipeline’s move to close the hospital in February came as a surprise to local officials, after it had promised to keep Westlake open for two years when it completed a purchase of the hospital in January.
“It’s a shame that the Health Facilities Review Board couldn’t find the courage to do the right thing for the most vulnerable people,” Melrose Park Mayor Ronald Serpico said in a statement after Tuesday’s ruling.
Serpico called on Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul to investigate the board’s decision, accusing the panel of disregarding its own rules.
“Was there a nod and a wink between Pipeline and members of the Health Facilities Review Board? We call on the Attorney General to get to the bottom of this scandalous action,” Serpico stated.
Melrose Park had filed a lawsuit seeking to force Westlake to stay open, and the Illinois Supreme Court last month reinstated a restraining order prohibiting Pipeline from reducing services.
However, that restraining order only kept the hospital open long enough for the state’s review board to rule on Pipeline’s application to close Westlake. The village has vowed to continue its court fight to keep the hospital open.
The village also is suing Pipeline for financial damages, accusing the company of lying about their plans for Westlake when they purchased the hospital.