Lawmakers call on the Illinois Attorney General’s office to investigate MetroSouth closing

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush called the closure of MetroSouth “morally wrong and legally reprehensible.”

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MetroSouth Medical Center in south suburban Blue Island has been purchased by Lockwood Development Partners

Lawmakers call on the Illinois Attorney General’s office to investigate the closure of MetroSouth Medical Center Thursday morning.

Sun-Times file

Elected officials gathered in front of a now-shuttered hospital in Blue Island on Thursday to demand the Illinois Attorney General’s office investigate the facility’s closure last month.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., called the closure of MetroSouth Medical Center “both morally wrong and legally reprehensible” and called on the attorney general’s office “to investigate this premature closure and determine what, if any, proper legal action should be taken against the hospital.”

The attorney general’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

In June, the owners of MetroSouth announced plans to close the hospital by the end of the year but accelerated the closure to Sept. 30, pending approval from the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board.

On Sept. 17, the state review board voted 5-1 to defer action because of a pending lawsuit filed against Quorum Health, MetroSouth’s parent company. The hospital still was shut down at the end of September despite state regulators ordering Quorum to maintain services until the next review board meeting Oct. 22.

“Quorum’s decision to close MetroSouth before receiving approval from the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board is not only an affront to the members of my district who depend on this hospital, but it is also a clear violation of the Health Facilities Planning Act,” Rush said.

The act is a state law that regulates health care facility changes.

“The board was very clear about delaying the closure, and they went on their own plan to shut it down,” said state Rep. Bob Rita, D-Blue Island. “It is a blatant disrespect to the whole process.”

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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