Union slams Sinai Health System for slashing services at Holy Cross Hospital

Members of SEIU Healthcare Illinois rallied to condemn the reduction of services and inpatient beds at Holy Cross Hospital.

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SEIU Healthcare Illinois’ Union President Greg Kelley condemns the slashing of services at Holy Cross Hospital, 2701 W. 68th St., on Thursday.

SEIU Healthcare Illinois’ Union President Greg Kelley condemns the slashing of services at Holy Cross Hospital, 2701 W. 68th St., on Thursday.

Manny Ramos/Sun-Times

Members of SEIU Healthcare Illinois rallied Thursday to condemn the reduction of services and inpatient beds at Holy Cross Hospital in Chicago Lawn.

Holy Cross announced Tuesday its plans to reduce available inpatient beds from 264 to 104 and temporarily suspend its OB/GYN services starting Nov. 1.

Union president Greg Kelley said he believes this is the beginning of the complete closure of the hospital and demanded elected officials step in to stop it.

“‘How do you close a hospital?’ you might ask,” said Kelley. “You close it with a thousand cuts. You close down the departments, significantly reduce the number of beds and you put the emergency room on bypass until the ends justify the means.”

Kelley argued reducing these services is what causes the lack of patients and revenue to fall, which is then used as reasoning to shut the hospital down.

“Hospital shutdowns are motivated by pure greed ... We have to ask the question, ‘who’s next?’”

Kelley pointed to the recent closures of MetroSouth Medical Center and Westlake Hospital as an example of health care systems putting profit over people. He said the “alarming trend” of hospital closures will create “health care deserts” impacting predominantly black and brown communities.

But a spokesman for Holy Cross’ operator, Sinai Health System, said the hospital’s “financial challenges” don’t signal a shutdown is imminent.

“Holy Cross Hospital is not closing.Rumors to the contrary are simply untrue,” said Dan Regan in a statement. “Like many other hospitals serving vulnerable communities, we are facing financial challenges, but we are committed to continuing to service the needs of the community at Holy Cross Hospital.”

Regan said the move to reduce services is necessary for the hospital to keep providing quality care to their patients.

While Holly Cross doesn’t have employees that are members of the Union, Kelley said, they were working to unionize. SEIU Healthcare Illinois has members in other Sinai Health hospitals and have already authorized a strike for better compensation.

“Before the workers of Holy Cross have had their chance to demand recognition of their union, management announces drastic cuts to services and staff here,” Kelley said.

State Sen. Jacqueline Collins, D-Chicago, also expressed her disapproval of the slashing of services that serve the residents in her district.

“What we see here is a disinvestment in communities and a lack of care who are desperately in need of a hospital,” Collins said. “I am here to say, do black lives matter? Do brown lives matter? We are here to stand with our workers

Manny Ramos is a corps member ofReport 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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