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Health Care Wed Jun 05 2013
Roseland Community Hospital announced today it will keep it doors open with $350,000 in state emergency assistance until a more sustainable solution is reached. These actions come two weeks after 100 staff members were laid off due to a $600,000 shortfall to pay employees. Administrators and aid experts will review a financial plan to salvage the medical center.
This week it was revealed that the state owes Roseland Community Hospital $6 million for its children's behavioral health unit. Hospital administrators have reduced the deficit from $9 million to $5 million. Governor Quinn claims the hospital board has a history of monetary mismanagement which has led them to the current situation. President and CEO Dian Powell who resigned this morning disregarded financial irresponsibility led to the mess and said, "They owe us money." Powell's resignation comes after allegations of unfairly blaming missing payments from the state as a critical factor in the hospital's fiscal demise.
Although the hospital will remain intact, they will no longer accept new patients and are in the process of transporting patients to other hospitals, yet to be named. The 162-bed facility resides in one of the toughest and poorest areas of the city, where nearly 40 percent of emergency room patients are uninsured, signifying less revenue and state dependence to cover costs. Violence in Roseland is high and there is no other emergency room facility within an eight-mile radius -- meaning delayed medical attention, which equals more deaths. If debt continues to mount without a plausible fiscal agreement, Roseland Hospital may be forced to close, leaving a desert of more social services.
This touches base on the prime issue that there is a dire need for more medical centers in disadvantaged areas especially a trauma and emergency unit to aid victims of violence. There has been no trauma center on the South Side since the University of Chicago Hospital shuttered its adult trauma center in 1988. The absence of urgent care of gun wounds contributes to increased mortality rates. Victims often travel to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn or Northwestern's downtown facility, neither of which is within close proximity.
The threat of closure has captured the attention of local activists, the Rainbow Push Coalition and, surprisingly, the notorious gang, Black Disciples. It's not a matter of race or socioeconomic status, but a there is an extreme need in the community for healthcare. Regardless of necessary measures, Chicago's South Side community literally cannot afford the removal of another medical center.