Facing life or death, Illinois charity hospitals brace for closure

In business with the sole purpose of savings lives, two Illinois charity hospitals are themselves facing a dire situation. One in Chicago’s south suburbs, the other in poverty-stricken East St. Louis would like the state’s permission to close operations.  Nationwide, many charity hospitals have closed their doors, and some have even filed for bankruptcy.

The hospitals have served the impoverished in Illinois for more than 100 years.   Many charity hospitals, including these two, face rising costs, towering budget cuts, and a widespread increase in the number of uninsured patients.

The closings would inflict a huge blow to low-income urban neighborhoods in which the hospitals serve. Patients would feel the effects immediately.  Many patients would be forced to travel long distances to other hospitals; this would result in even longer emergency room wait times.

The fates of the two Illinois hospitals are in the hands of the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board. Chicago bankruptcy attorneys believe the hospitals will not likely survive the review.  Since there is very little money to help solve the hospital's financial problems, the board will likely have no choice but to allow the hospitals to close.

The protests have already begun outside the hospitals.  If the closure of the two hospitals has any resemblance to the closing of other hospitals in the country, patients and protesters will likely file suit to enforce their right to reasonable health care.

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