Advocate Health Care’s proposal to offer a multimillion dollar community fund for local health care providers as part of its plan to turn Bethany Hospital into a long term care facility has not stifled criticism from activists opposed to service cuts at the West Side Hospital.
Oak Brook-based Advocate, the city’s largest non-profit health care provided, announced in January that it will close Bethany’s emergency room and other services. The hospital, located at 3425 W. Van Buren, will transition to a long-term care facility for acute patients. At the time of the announcement, Advocate offered to establish a $10 Community Health Fund for area schools, churches and community organizations offering health programs for low-income residents.
The fund, Advocate officials said, will come from the Oak Brook-based provider. Advocate officials estimate the fund will generate a $400,000 annual income for participating groups. Advocate also said it will establish an advisory committee of community residents to help decide how the fund will operate. No timetable has been set on who will sit on the committee and exactly when it will be established, Advocate officials said.
But the health care system’s efforts haven’t swayed critics. On Sunday, church leaders, residents and community activists staged a protest outside Bethany, protesting cuts to hospital services.
Protestors, including Pastor Ira Acree (pictured) of Austin’s Greater St. John Baptist Church, want hospital services reinstated and future cuts halted.
Advocate shut down the hospital’s emergency room last Month and plans to close its mental health unit and additional services by April.