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Melrose Park plans to appeal state decision to OK Westlake Hospital closing

Supporters of Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park were expected to make a last-ditch effort Friday to keep the hospital open | via Facebook

Melrose Park plans to appeal a decision by a state review board to allow Westlake Hospital to close.

Attorneys for the village were in court Wednesday hoping to extend a temporary restraining order that had prevented owner Pipeline Health from closing the hospital.

Judge Eve Reilly declined to extend the order, which expired at 2 p.m. Wednesday. The expiration means Pipeline can now move forward with closing the 230-bed facility.

On Tuesday, the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board had approved Pipeline’s application to close Westlake, 1225 W. Lake St. in Melrose Park.

Before voting unanimously to OK the closing, the board first considered a motion to defer action on Pipeline’s request. The vote was 4-3 to defer, but five votes were needed and only seven members of the nine-member were present (one was sick, and one seat is vacant).

In an April court filing, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx had sought to intervene as an additional plaintiff alongside Melrose Park, and argued that some of Pipeline’s actions related to the closing had violated state law.

Assistant State’s Attorney Paul Castiglione told Reilly the state’s attorney wants to investigate the state board’s decision not to defer. Judge Reilly granted Foxx’s office 45 days to update their complaint.

Pipeline, a California-based health care network, bought Westlake and two other Chicago-area hospitals in January for $70 million.

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