A Cook County Circuit Court judge ruled on Tuesday that Westlake Hospital, 1225 Lake St. in Melrose Park, must stay open while Melrose Park appeals a decision by the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board to allow Pipeline Health, Westlake’s owner, to close the hospital.
As reported earlier, Ari Scharg, the attorney who represents Melrose Park, had argued that the review board should delay making a decision on Pipeline’s application to close the hospital until a lawsuit that the village filed against the California-based company in March is resolved and an “equitable transition of Westlake to a new owner” is completed.
On April 30, however, the review board voted 7-0 to grant Pipeline’s request to close Westlake. Since then, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has removed two members of the review board who voted against delaying the decision.
In a statement, state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th), who is a member of Westlake’s board, said that he looks forward “to the review board decision being overturned down the road through a re-vote.”
Welch added that he hopes the governor appoints “new members who will side with the community and protecting access to health care.”
Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico called the judge’s decision on Tuesday “another great victory for low-income people of color in Melrose Park.”