An Oak Park hospital is soon to change ownership. And Resurrection Health Care, the current owner, is taking a huge hit on the sale.

Vanguard Health Systems – a Nashville-based for-profit chain of hospitals – is closing in on a purchase of West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park, along with its sister Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park.

Vanguard will pay about $41 million to Chicago-based Resurrection for the two struggling hospitals, according to a filing with the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board. Brian Crawford, a spokesman for Resurrection, says the exact price will be $20,310,500 for Westlake and $21,139,500 for West Sub.

Resurrection assumed about $70 million in debt in taking over West Sub in 2004, and has invested about the same amount into the hospital. Those investments include $24 million for a brand-new emergency room, which was unveiled in November. Another $30 million has been put into Westlake.

Despite all the money invested in the two buildings, Crawford says Resurrection had no choice but to sell them. Combined, the hospitals have lost $166 million over the past five years, according to the filing.

“Our entire ministry was in jeopardy if we didn’t stem those losses,” Crawford said. “We feel good about the $100 million we invested in those hospitals. We take solace that the investment will stay in those communities.”

Vanguard and Resurrection reached a definitive agreement on the sale March 17, and the same day, Resurrection filed an application with the state to have the sale approved. Public hearings are scheduled on Monday, April 26, to help the review board decide whether it should approve the sale.

For Westlake, the hearing will be at 9 a.m. at Melrose Park Village Hall. West Sub’s hearing will be at 1 p.m. at Oak Park Village Hall, 123 Madison. The review board is expected to start deliberating on the decision June 8 in Springfield, said Crawford, and the two parties hope to close the sale by June 30, the end of Resurrection’s fiscal year.

“We really hope that we are getting to the final stretch,” Crawford said. “Health care in Oak Park and the Melrose Park area is very critical.”

-Marty Stempniak

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