CHICAGO (CBS) — A South Side alderman is calling on the state of Illinois to buy Chicago’s Mercy Hospital temporarily.

The hospital’s future has been in limbo for months.

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Trinity Health Services owns Mercy. It has a non-binding agreement to sell it to Insight Chicago. Last week, a coalition of community leaders demanded a voice in the decision-making process.

Now, Chicago Alderman Sophia King (4th) said she wants the state to step in.

“We’re here today to call on the governor and others to help provide the best path forward for Mercy. Not the most expedient, but the best path forward,” King said. “We are proposing that the state purchase Mercy Hospital for a dollar, temporarily, including the real estate Mercy sits on.”

King and other South Side leaders want mercy to remain a full service hospital. They’re calling on Governor JB Pritzker to enact a full assessment to determine what Mercy needs to move forward.

They want the community to have representation on the Mercy Hospital board and transparency when it comes to sale of the hospital and any potential buyers.

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CBS 2 reached out to the governor’s office. Pritzker’s General Counsel, Ann M. Spillane sent a statement originally addressed to Illinois lawmakers which the state cannot make the purchase even on a temporary basis.

“Even if the bankruptcy court would allow the transfer to the State, the State likely does not have the capacity to take over the complete management and operations of the hospital while a search continues for additional prospective purchasers,” Spillane said.

Pritzker’s spokesperson, Jordan Adudayyeh, added this statement, which reads in part:

“The Governor believes that healthcare is a right, not a privilege and that’s why his administration has worked tirelessly to exhaust every legal, legislative and administrative option to preserve healthcare access on the southside, but the state taking over Mercy Hospital is not a viable solution. Instead, the state would urge community representatives to engage and work with potential buyers to ensure the hospital will continue to operate in the community.”

 

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