By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS)– Mercy Hospital will be closing between February and May of 2021, hospital officials announced Wednesday.

The closure announcement comes after an attempt to merge four South Side hospitals was denied funding.

“The decision to discontinue services at Mercy Hospital was not an easy one,”  Carol Schneider, president of Mercy Hospital & Medical Center released a statement on Wednesday. “But patients on the South Side have unmet needs within the current system.”

Officials said Mercy Hospital has “faced financial turmoil for decades as the population in the area has declined, hospital reimbursements have decreased, and capital needs have increased exponentially.”

Mercy Hospital will close no sooner than Feb. 1, 2021 and no later than May 31, 2021. The hospital is planning to transition for the closure by relocating services to other South Side hospitals.

In January of 2020, Mercy Hospital formed a coalition with three other South Side hospitals to create an independent health system and build one to two new hospitals and three to six outpatient centers to ultimately replace the four hospital facilities.

This was part of the “South Side Transformation Plan.” Officials said the plan was to be funded with public and private commitments over ten years for a total investment of $1.1 billion.

During the last few hours of the Spring Legislative Session, the Illinois Legislature changed course and elected not to fund the South Side Transformation Plan as part of the funding for the Illinois Hospital Transformation Program.

“The communities served by Mercy Hospital desperately need more early detection and diagnosis of illnesses and diseases, better care coordination among a multitude of providers to better treat chronic diseases, and more cost effective and accessible urgent care and other outpatient services,” Hospital officials said in an email.