Keep Oak Forest Hospital Open: the Community Speaks Out
July 21, 2010: Patients, caregivers and community members gathered to voice their opposition to the Cook County plan to cut Inpatient, Emergency and Rehabilitation Services at the south suburban Oak Forest Hospital.
The service cuts would rid many uninsured Chicagoland residents of accessible and affordable health care. The changes would send patients to other already overcapacitied County facilities, to which the transport is also very difficult and time-consuming.
While the County Health Board has suggested partnering with private hospitals in the Southland to provide substitute care, no partnerships as of yet have been established. Many caregivers also question the feasibility of a partnership of the public and private hospital systems.
According to the five-year plan, Oak Forest Hospital would be converted into a regional clinic. The participants fervently appealed to County Commissioners to spare the hospital's services and avoid the dire costs the plan would have on human health and life. With stories of personal experience, the participants presented Oak Forest as an indispensable institution in the area and its services as crucial and the only resource to many.