Two members of the local governing board at West Suburban Medical Center have resigned their posts following the Oct. 2 bankruptcy declaration by its owner, Pipeline Health.
Anan Abu-Taleb, former mayor of Oak Park, was the chair of the nine-member board, which included a mix of community members and hospital administrators.
Rev. Marshall Hatch, pastor of New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church on the West Side, also tendered his resignation about the same time. His departure was confirmed by Abu-Taleb and by Jane Brust, spokesperson for Pipeline. Hatch was not available for comment at press time.
Abu-Taleb said, “I resigned the day of the bankruptcy.” He expressed frustration that the local board was not consulted on the decision to take the California-based seven-hospital group into bankruptcy.
“If I can’t help, I don’t want to hurt,” said Abu-Taleb. “But I don’t think I can make a difference” now at West Sub.
He expressed support for the staff at the hospital. “The people who work there care about the hospital and their patients,” he said.
In a document attached to its bankruptcy declaration, Pipeline made clear that deepening financial losses at its two Chicago-area hospitals — West Sub and Weiss Memorial in the city — drove the chain into financial peril. Pipeline had been negotiating the potential sale of West Sub and Weiss for several months with a newly created venture called Resilience Health. When a $92 million sale did not close by Aug. 30, Pipeline moved toward declaring bankruptcy.
Brust, the Pipeline spokesperson, said in an email that negotiations with Resilience continue. She declined to comment on possible discussions with other potential buyers.
Brust thanked both Abu-Taleb and Hatch. “We appreciate the service of these two very well-respected community leaders and their track record of support for West Suburban.”
She said Pipeline hoped to have a new board chair appointed during November.
Also on the governing board were community representatives Morris Reed from the Westside Health Authority and Rev. Stanley Stephens of the West Side Pastors Coalition for AIDS and Inner City Health. There are five board members with ties to West Sub, including CEO Barbara Martin and four current or former leaders of the medical staff.