Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has joined the village of Melrose Park in the fight to keep California-based Pipeline Health from closing Westlake Hospital.
On Friday, Foxx’s office formally joined the temporary restraining order against Pipeline that Melrose Park had filed on April 8 and that a judge granted on April 9.
As part of the restraining order, the California company was prohibited from taking steps to close the Melrose Park hospital until after April 30, when the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board is scheduled to make a decision on Pipeline’s request to close Westlake.
On April 16, Pipeline was found in contempt for violating that April 9 temporary restraining order. As part of that contempt of court ruling, Pipeline had until 9 a.m. Thursday to reopen every Westlake department except for the bariatric unit. Pipeline was facing a $200,000 a day fine if they failed to restore those services.
On Thursday morning, the Cook County Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 in favor of reversing the temporary restraining order, arguing that Melrose Park had no standing to file it.
Hours later, however, the Illinois Supreme Court weighed in, issuing a stay of the lower court’s ruling, meaning that the temporary restraining order will remain in place for now.
In a statement released Friday, Dennis Culloton, a Pipeline spokesperson, said that the company welcomes the state’s attorney’s involvement before blaming state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th) for the hospital’s financial troubles.
“The record will show that Pipeline Health has followed the rules, is acting in the interest of patient safety and cleaning up the financial mess created by Westlake Board Chairman and Illinois State Rep. Chris Welch,” Culloton said.
In a statement released April 17, Welch said that Pipeline “knew of Westlake Hospital’s financial state when it was purchased, and they continued to promise our community that it would remain open for two years. Rather than honor their promise, they broke their word and chose to take access to health care away from a largely black and brown community.”
— Michael Romain