By Anna Lothson
There won't be debates anytime soon about putting a cross again on Rush Oak Park Hospital as the longtime Catholic institution will soonrelinquish its affiliation, following a $21 million deal in which Rush University Medical Center will acquire full ownership of the facility.
Rush University Medical Center and Wheaton Franciscan Services have been negotiating the corporate membership change for some time, according to a news release. The new deal, however, will make Rush the sole corporate member of ROPH if plans move forward as expected.
By acquiring the hospital from Wheaton Franciscan Services, a nonprofit Catholic organization that operates a number of hospitals in the Chicago suburbs, Rush Oak Park will cease to be a Catholic institution, which has been in effect since 1993.
The change, anticipated to take effect by July 1, ends a 15-year arrangement that the groups have worked under. According to the news release, the parties are in the initial phase of securing the deal.
"Rush and Wheaton had anticipated a future change of membership like the proposed transaction.
Both Rush and Wheaton agree that now is a good time for OSFSI to transfer its membership interest, and for ROPH to become aligned exclusively with Rush," the release stated. "When the agreement was formed, funds were segregated into an account to provide for that possibility. The transfer of the funds in this account will not have a material effect on ROPH or Rush's available funds."
In the meantime, Wheaton Franciscan Services is working closely with the Archdiocese of Chicago to review the proposal to ensure that the proposed transition is "handled with appropriate attention, sensitivity and care."
Like Rush, ROPH will operate as a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization without a specific religious affiliation.
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