Cutting back: West Suburban Medical Center is now owned by Vanguard Health Systems.J. GEIL/Photo Editor

The largest employer in Oak Park recently laid off a handful of employees, after its parent company posted losses at the hospital in the past year.

West Suburban Medical Center has been hit by the double whammy of a troubled economy, along with reduced funding from Medicare and Medicaid. As such, the hospital recently eliminated about 20 positions, and its parent company, Vanguard Health Systems, trimmed another 70 at three other Chicago area hospitals which it owns.

“Nonetheless, we remain committed to providing our community with exceptional care and service,” Vanguard said in a statement. “We are vested in the communities we serve and remain the largest employer in three of our hospital communities,” including Oak Park.

Just last year, Tennessee-based Vanguard Health Systems swooped in to save West Sub, which was in financial stress. Vanguard paid some $41.5 million for the establishment, along with its sister Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park. The two institutions had been hemorrhaging money prior to the sale, to the tune of about $166 million over the five years leading up to the deal.

Spokeswoman Olga Solares declined to comment on the layoffs, instead providing the brief statement. Also sharing in the cuts are Vanguard’s MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn and Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

Solares confirmed that the cuts were spread across several departments in the hospital, but she declined to say whether there will be more layoffs in the immediate future.

When it first bought West Sub and Westlake in mid-2010, Vanguard pledged to the state that it would invest $15 million in the two institutions, and keep them open for at least three years.

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