Health Board asks if West Sub sale caused service 'gap'

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The Oak Park Health Board is planning in the coming year to take a close look at just how the purchase of West Suburban Hospital has impacted health care options for residents, and also how "gaps" in services can be filled.

West Suburban Hospital Medical Center was bought last year by Resurrection Health Care, a Catholic hospital system. The purchase generated controversy, and critics voiced concern that Oak Park would lose access to some important reproductive health services.

"Our role is not to interfere with a system's right to buy, but to try to say, 'are the people in Oak Park getting the services they need,'" said Health Board Chair Lois Halstead. Some of the topics the group will be looking into include if rape victims' access to emergency contraception is sufficient. The group will also consider issues surrounding charity care. 

Resurrection as a system has come under fire for not providing adequate charity care services.

"We want to ask are these not-for profits living up to their requirements, not just legally, but morally and ethically," she said.

West Sub officials could not be reached for comment before deadline.

Halstead said the board is hoping to meet with local health care providers to assess what needs are not currently met, and will work with the village to look at ways it may help fill in service gaps. 

"Our goal is to engage all agencies in a dialogue. This is a partnership, we're not trying to find blame," she said.

?#34;Katharine Grayson

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