Good news as 2022 closed that a final deal was made to wrap up the sale of West Suburban Hospital and Weiss Memorial to its new owners.
Our interest is West Sub, the better-than-century-old health-care institution that has been integral to Oak Park, Austin and River Forest as a place of healing, a source of jobs, and, for most of its years, a critical leader in our communities.
The past 25 years have been a chaotic time, as the hospital has changed hands a half-dozen times, suffered financial turmoil as its patient base has shifted it into a “safety net” hospital status and it has forfeited any true local leadership capacity, with ownerships based most recently out of California and Texas.
A sign of just how desperate the last owner, Pipeline Health, was to offload its continuing losses was the decision in early January to sign over operations of both hospitals to a new owner, Resilience Health Care, before there was even an overall agreement to purchase the real property and assets of the institutions.
That this would become a two-part deal between Resilience and the now operating-in-bankruptcy Pipeline did not seem promising.
We were surprised then that on Dec. 29 Pipeline announced it had closed the sale and was wishing West Sub and Weiss, based in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, all the best.
With the deal complete, we now wait for Manoj Prasad, the new owner of West Sub, to become more public in explaining his plans for this vital but troubled hospital. At the time of the initial announcement last March that a deal was being negotiated, Prasad spoke publicly at the hospital about his plans to be hands-on, visible, and active in running West Sub. Staff was impressed and so were we.
Now we need to hear from him again.