In an attempt to combine into one new state-of-the-art hospital with up to six community health centers, four South Side hospitals in Chicago will be closing. Advocate Trinity Hospital in Calumet Heights, Mercy Hospital & Medical Center in Bronzeville, South Shore Hospital in South Chicago, and St. Bernard Hospital in Englewood created this plan because they fell into financial hardship and see this as a way to make much-needed improvements to the healthcare in the area.
The plan is projected to cost $1.1 billion, but locations and timelines have not been finalized yet. Although that budget is high, Advocate Trinity Hospital claimed they plan to cut costs by $1.1 billion and double its revenue by 2025, which will replenish the cost of this project. According to hospital leaders, in the meantime the funding for the project will come from the founding hospitals, their parent organizations, donations, and the state.
The intent of this project is to help the people of the South Side, since research has found it to be more health-challenged than other areas of Chicago. A study done by NYU School of Medicine found that Englewood residents have a life expectancy of 60 years compared to Streeterville, only nine miles away, where there’s a life expectancy of 90 years.
The socioeconomic gap makes it hard for the people of the South Side to access good health care, education, and higher incomes. In neighborhoods like Englewood, families don’t have safe parks or even fresh vegetables local to them, which has a largely negative impact on the lives and health of the people in that community. Hopefully, this project can start a change in health for these people who previously didn’t have access to proper healthcare.
On top of this, the hospitals involved in the project typically have less than half of the beds in their facilities full, which costs them money in the long run. A new hospital and three to six community health centers would compress the needs of the four areas so that the highest available healthcare can be more easily accessed and utilized by the people of the South Side.
According to Charles Holland, president and CEO of St. Bernard, all four hospitals will remain open while officials finalize the plan, and none will close until at least one new facility opens.