West Suburban Hospital Medical Center. | File

CROSSING AUSTIN BOULEVARD:  This story is part of an ongoing series of articles that Austin Weekly News publishes about issues, events, people, places and things that take place west of Austin Boulevard, but that nonetheless resonate to the east of it, as well.

West Suburban Medical Center is changing ownership once again. Pipeline Health announced March 10 its plans to sell the Oak Park hospital to the Michigan-based healthcare management group Resilience Healthcare. The acquisition, worth $92 million, also includes Weiss Memorial Hospital in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago.

Resilience Healthcare is led by Manoj Prasad, “a health executive with over two decades in healthcare turnaround,” according to a statement released by Pipeline announcing the impending sale.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to serve the patients and communities of Oak Park and residents of the West Side as well as Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood and beyond. We’re excited to secure state approval and get to work,” Prasad said in a statement released by Pipeline.

Wednesday Journal has reached out to Pipeline for comment, as well as to former Oak Park mayor Anan Abu-Taleb, who serves as chairman of West Suburban’s governing board. Search engine queries turned up no results for a Resilience Healthcare website.

The two healthcare companies are applying for a change of ownership through the Illinois Health Facilities and Review Board. If the change of ownership is approved, New Jersey-based businessman Rathnakar R. Patlola, a financial partner in Resilience, will be investing in the acquisition and operations, according to Pipeline.

Pending the authorization of the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, Resilience Healthcare will procure both hospitals and their campus properties.

“Both parties are interested in a smooth and seamless transition,” said Pipeline CEO Andrei Soran in the statement. “All hospital operations will continue as usual with quality, compassionate care delivered to all patients served.”

Prasad’s LinkedIn page states he is presently CEO of XPERTEASE and has been since Jan. 2017. He listed his responsibilities as focusing on “financial, clinical, cultural and operational transformation of hospitals and group practices globally” and “bringing jeopardized hospitals back into regulatory compliance.”

“My career turning around hospitals and health care organizations has been based on collaborations with and alignment of the medical staff, nurses, support staff and staff on the front lines at hospitals,” Prasad was quoted as saying in the Pipeline statement.

“I listen to them and to our patients and community partners and they see I am willing to roll up my sleeves and work side-by-side with them. We get aligned on the common goals of providing our patients high quality and affordable care and turning around a treasured community asset.”

Prassad is reportedly moving to the Chicago area and plans to work full-time shoring up the financial positions of both hospitals to make them more sustainable, so the hospitals can continue to provide critical healthcare services to patients.

West Suburban and Weiss have been under Pipeline’s ownership since 2017. Pipeline founder and board member Nick Orzano is quoted in the statement saying, “We have been struggling to make these hospitals successful. Manoj approached us to take on the challenge, and we believe he is an excellent fit, with a proven track record of success, for the communities we serve.”

More than 80 percent of West Suburban’s patients are residents of Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, according to Pipeline, which described the community as “at-risk.” Approximately 76 percent of West Suburban patients are Black.

Wednesday Journal reported last month that the Accreditation Council for Graduate Education had withdrawn the accreditation of West Suburban’s internal medicine residency program. It was also reported that West Suburban’s family medicine residency program is on probationary accreditation and has been since October of last year. Prior to that, ACGME records show that program was placed on continued accreditation “with warning” on May 29, 2020.

CONTACT: stacey@oakpark.com