Willis Continues Fight to Prevent Westlake Hospital Closure
03/18/2019MELROSE PARK, Ill. – State Rep. Kathy Willis, D-Northlake, is fighting to stop the closure of Westlake Hospital, holding a recent public rally to highlight the significance of the community hospital has had over its 92 year history and ensure local voices are part of the discussion about the hospital’s future.
“Westlake has been serving families for nearly a century, and to suddenly close its door for profit’s sake is just wrong,” Willis said. “Administrators pledged to support Westlake but changed course to now close it. I am taking legislative action to prevent back-door deals like these from taking place in the future, making it harder for corporate interests to shut down a hospital.”
Recently, Willis and members of the House Appropriations-Human Services Committee held a hearing to listen to testimonies from the mayor of Melrose Park, Westlake doctors, and faculty and other affected community members on the negative impact of the hospital’s closure. Westlake was acquired by Pipeline Health, just weeks ago at which time they pledged to keep the hospital open. Pipeline officials had agreed to testify at the hearing about their sudden change of plans, but failed to attend. Prior to the hearing, Willis filed legislation to repeal a state law that allows Pipeline and other health care companies to close hospitals without warning. Her bill is House Bill 123.
Earlier this week, impacted residents, elected officials and Westlake employees joined Willis at a public rally to keep the hospital from closing. The hospital holds 230 beds and employs nearly 700 people, and closing this facility would result in potentially longer emergency response times and overflow at the Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park.
“I am grateful for the community support to keep Westlake open because it is unfair for Pipeline to close this hospital and then not defend their actions at a public hearing,” Willis said. “People deserve much better than this and we can no longer allow ordinary residents to suffer from bad decisions that impact their lives.”