PORTAGE PARK — Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center is for sale, Presence Health officials said Thursday.
No buyer has been identified but officials expressed confidence it would be sold even though the Northwest Side hospital has been losing money for years.
Because of what officials called "dramatic changes in the health care landscape," the Portage Park hospital is on track to lose $20 million in 2014 after losing $9.8 million in 2013 and $12.5 million in 2012. The losses came despite extensive cost-cutting efforts, officials said.
A proposal in October by Our Lady of the Resurrection's owners, Presence Health, to shutter the hospital — but to keep the emergency room open — prompted an outcry from local elected officials and employees, who said the closure would turn Portage Park into a "health care desert."
Ald. Tim Cullerton, whose 38th Ward includes the hospital, said Presence Health officials told him Thursday they planned to ensure that the new owner of Our Lady of the Resurrection would keep it open as a full-service medical center.
"I hope the sale turns out to be a good thing," Cullerton said.
Dr. David Fishman, the director of the cardiology department who helped lead employee opposition to the proposed closure of the hospital, said a sale could benefit both patients and employees.
"I hope the new owner will invest in the building and expand service to the community," Fishman said. "It could be a good thing for everyone in the long run."
Presence Health officials plan to sell the 269-bed hospital at 5645 W. Addison St. by the beginning of the summer and complete the transaction by the end of the year.
Any sale would have to be approved by the Presence Health board of directors, which operates 12 Catholic hospitals in the Chicago area including Our Lady of the Resurrection, as well as state regulatory officials.
Presence Health CEO Sandra Bruce said a Catholic health system or hospital would be given preference over other potential buyers. In addition, a bid for the hospital from a not-for-profit firm would be preferred to one from a for-profit group, she said.
In addition, the new owner of the hospital will be required to keep Our Lady of the Resurrection open as a general acute care medical center and to retain the hospital's 900 employees, Bruce said.
The hospital's serious financial challenges are due to the declining number of people being admitted to a hospital — an industrywide trend — and the high number of uninsured patients who seek treatment at Our Lady of the Resurrection, Bruce said.
The hospital's small size has made it difficult for Our Lady of the Resurrection to weather these changes, Bruce said.
Eighty percent of the hospital's patients were covered by Medicare or Medicaid, or paid out of pocket, according to the hospital’s 2011 report to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
While more people will be eligible for health care insurance under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, the relatively low number of eligible people enrolling in the program means that while the law could reduce the red ink at the hospital, it would not be "enough to stem the losses," Bruce said.
A nearly yearlong review process of the hospital's financial health found that none of the options considered by the hospital's leaders were viable, including the proposal to close the hospital but keep the emergency room open, Bruce said.
Every year, more than 47,000 people visit Our Lady of the Resurrection’s emergency room, about 9,000 people are hospitalized there, and 3,600 patients undergo surgery at the hospital, which has been open since 1955, according to data provided by Fishman.