Holy Cross Hospital to suspend OB/GYN services, reduce inpatient beds

Sinai Health System says the changes are need to meet financial challenges of shift to outpatient services.

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Holy Cross Hospital said it will suspend OB/GYN services Nov. 1 and reduce the number of inpatient beds at the Chicago Lawn hospital.

Sun-Times file photo

Holy Cross Hospital plans to suspend some services and restructure some units to meet trends in the health care industry.

The Chicago Lawn hospital’s OB/GYN services, including labor and delivery of newborns, will be suspended starting Nov. 1. Holy Cross averages less than one delivery per day in its birthing center, hospital operators say.

“At Holy Cross Hospital, we have seen fewer births, as well as changes in demand for critical care and telemetry beds, so we are making changes in our programs and services to address those needs,” Karen Teitelbaum, president and CEO of Sinai Health System, said in a statement.

Holy Cross, 2701 W. 68th St., plans to regularly use 104 impatient beds; it is licensed for 264 beds.

The hospital will consolidate its medical, surgical and telemetry units to a 70-bed unit on one floor instead of 140 beds on two floors. It will also make a single 10-bed critical care unit rather than two 20-bed units.

Sinai Health System, the hospital’s operator, said the changes aim to make its health care system “stronger” and “meet the long-term needs of the community.” Holy Cross has been losing about $2 million a month since July.

Teitelbaum said the financial challenges are a result of the trend toward more outpatient services.

“We are making these changes after a thorough assessment of the demand for specific services in our community,” chief operating officer Airica Steed said in a statement.

Steed said Holy Cross will continue to have the critical care needed for the Southwest Side and OB/GYN services will be available at Mount Sinai Hospital, 1500 S. Fairfield Ave.

“These changes at Holy Cross Hospital will improve our operational efficiency and also improve the quality of care we provide for our patients, with a better integration of services and a more effective use of resources,” said Steed. “While these are never easy decisions, they are the choices we need to make in order to responsibly and effectively serve our patients’ needs, both today and in the future”

About 140 caregivers will be affected by the hospital’s service reduction, but Teitelbaum said about 75% of those employees have an opportunity to be transferred to another position within Sinai Health System’s network.

Teitelbaum said Holy Cross, a not-for-profit hospital, won’t suffer the same fate of shutting down as other for-profit hospitals have in the Chicago area.

“What we are doing is preserving and sacrificing resources and allocating them in a way to best serve our community,” Teitelbaum said.

Manny Ramos is a corps member of Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster Sun-Times coverage of Chicago’s South Side and West Side.

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