No more hospital closures in Illinois during pandemic? Bill that would allow state board to pause closures close to becoming law

The bill, which came out of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, has been passed by both houses of the state legislature, and now moves to the governor for his signature. In a statement, Pritzker called the bill a “remarkable piece of legislation to build a healthier future for all of our communities” and to address racism in health care.

The part of the bill restricting hospital closures arose out of concern over plans to close Mercy, announced in July. Mercy serves many brown and Black patients. Community leaders and members protested the proposed closure, saying without Mercy, the area would be left without adequate health care.

Mercy is no longer planning to close after a nonprofit organization agreed to buy it, and the state board approved that plan last month. But Mercy’s application to close by May 31 is still technically pending before the state board in case the deal falls through.

A spokeswoman for Mercy did not immediately provide comment on the bill Thursday morning.

The bill gained broad support, including from the Illinois Health and Hospital Association. An earlier version sought to allow a three-year moratorium on hospital closures, and the association worked to negotiate that down, said association spokesman Danny Chun.

“This was a compromise,” Chun said. “We recognize, during a pandemic, the impact on communities of a hospital closure.”

Region: Bloomington,Feeds,News,City: Bloomington,Region: Central

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April 2, 2021 at 07:36AM

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