Vanguard rededicates efforts with strategic plan

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Dear community members:

For more than 85 years, Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park has been committed to providing high-quality health care to the communities it serves. West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park has been serving its community for nearly 100 years. When Vanguard Health Systems (VHS) acquired these two hospitals and the River Forest Medical Campus almost three years ago, they were facing significant financial struggles and were at risk of being closed. Since that time, we have been working very hard to position these facilities for many more years of service to the communities they are privileged to serve.

We have invested more than $18.4 million in capital investments and infrastructure improvements, including upgrading the clinical computer systems at each hospital and across our market; expanding the rehabilitation, bariatric and behavioral health services at Westlake Hospital; acquiring a state-of-the-art, single-incision robotic surgery system and introducing the Chicago area's first Senior Emergency Department at West Suburban Medical Center; and investing in a number of refurbishments and upgrades to clinical services and programs at both locations.

In the past three years, we have provided more than $5.75 million in "at-cost" charity care by continuing to provide health care to those in our community who are most in need, as well as growing our community services and senior services programming to provide thousands of free health screenings and hundreds of health education programs at our sites and out in the community.

This continued commitment to our community has helped us to stabilize these facilities and prepare us for our next steps: to develop a comprehensive strategic plan so we can continue to serve our communities well into the future. For the past several months, we have been working very hard with our board members, our medical staffs, and the leadership within our organization, both at the local and national level, in the development of a strategic plan to position us for growth, continued quality improvement, and better alignment of our services across all our locations.

We have come up with a plan that will allow us to remain a strong presence of health in our community for years to come. Our plan involves continuing to provide comprehensive acute care services and emergency services at all our hospitals, creating a stronger alignment and growing our services in key areas such as Women's Health and Cardiology, and pursuing new opportunities in providing primary care to better serve you. We look forward to continuing to strengthen a unified health system to serve our community — at Westlake Hospital, West Suburban Medical Center, and the River Forest Medical Campus, as well at Vanguard Health Chicago's other facilities, MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago, and our physicians group, Vanguard Medical Group. We are proud to continue serving our community and look forward to many more years of helping people achieve Health for Life.

William T. Foley
President, Vanguard Health Chicago

William A. Brown
Chief Executive Officer, Westlake Hospital and West Suburban Medical Center

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