Pritzker signs plan to streamline sale of Westlake Hospital
Gov. JB Pritzker signed a plan into law Tuesday intended to expedite the sale of Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park.
The narrowly written language allows an entity to re-establish a previously discontinued general acute care safety-net hospital closed in 2019 or 2020 to file a certificate of exemption – rather than a certificate of need – to re-establish the same number of beds as were previously available when operations were initially discontinued.
“Reopening Westlake Hospital is a step toward addressing longstanding disparities in our healthcare system that have left some residents without the medical care they desperately need,” Pritzker said in a statement.
The facility has been closed since 2019.
Area lawmakers praised the law, saying it will help bring essential services back to the community.
“So happy to see Westlake back,” Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Northlake, said in a statement. “This will provide healthcare and jobs to this community.”
“Both the care and jobs this hospital will provide will be crucial to this community’s recovery from the pandemic,” said Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park.
The law, effective immediately, also requires a new buyer to spend at least $20 million to reestablish the hospital, to adopt and maintain a charity care policy that is no less restrictive than what was in place prior to the original closure, accept Medicaid patients and agree to maintain ownership of the hospital for no less than five years after reopening.
A New Jersey-based company called Cedar Care Holdings plans to buy the hospital for $11.5 million and reopen it with a blend of acute care and psychiatric services, according to the Chicago Tribune.