Another way to use the Westlake facility

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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How refreshing to read Dr. Scott Levin's thoughtful view regarding the pending closure of Westlake Hospital [How local community hospitals survive, Viewpoints, Aug. 14]. As a retired health care financial executive with 45 years' experience, mostly in hospitals, I can attest to the struggle of local community hospitals and Dr. Levin's comments are on point.

While other area hospitals such as Gottlieb — which is now part of Loyola Medical Center and the bigger nationally-based Trinity Healthcare System, as well as Rush Oak Park Hospital, which is part of the Rush University system — have had the capital resources, specialty services, and the patient volumes to adequately address the ever-changing health-care environment, Westlake Hospital has languished for over a decade.

As Dr. Levin correctly stated, the hospital beds are no longer needed, which the community already made clear with their feet over many years.

The State Health Planning Board voted unanimously to allow closure of Westlake. Attempts by the mayor and other political pressure are disingenuous.

However, the Westlake Hospital facility does not need to be a total loss to the community. The state is in serious need of psychiatric resources. Perhaps the current for-profit owners could donate the facility to the state for that purpose and enjoy a tax write-off.

While the facility might not have been kept updated to address modern acute hospital and emergency needs, it would certainly be adequate for psychiatric services.

Jack Holton

Oak Park

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