Medical malpractice lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report that the Roseland Community Hospital in Chicago, Illinois recently announced that, in efforts to stay open, it will lay off nearly 70 employees while cutting the salaries of other workers.
Those whose jobs were eliminated include emergency room nurses and managers, lab and radiology clerks, and secretaries. Another 47 employees were asked to take one unpaid furlough day every two week pay period. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn immediately directed the senior staff members to meet with hospital executives and community stakeholders to work out a way the city, state, and federal governments can help Roseland acclimate into the new world of healthcare in the U.S.
Reverend Jesse Jackson and a group of community leaders requested that Illinois provide the hospital with a $7 million bailout to keep running without dramatic decreases in patient care and wellbeing. Governor Quinn, however, is concerned about the hospital’s financial practicality.
The recently enacted cuts will result in savings of over $700,000 per month. Roseland Community Hospital is located on the far south side of Chicago, where violent crime is abundant and emergency rooms are desperately needed but incredibly scarce. Just in May 2013, alone, for example, there have been 24 homicides. Another six people were killed and 23 were wounded across Chicago over just this year’s Memorial Day Weekend.
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Roseland currently owes between $7 and $8 million in outstanding bills, owed for longer than 90 days, which it must pay or it will have to significantly reduce its patient services. These outstanding payments are the direct consequence of failure to pay by Roseland’s patients, who are primarily poor and without any medical insurance (most even without Medicaid). Because of its primary patient base, Roseland has not been able to generate enough cash flow to cover its medical expenses.
Other sources told CBS Chicago that the hospital is in its current position due to grave financial mismanagement. Roseland president and CEO, Dian Powell, stated that there is absolutely no merit to that accusation, stating that the hospital had reduced its debt from $9 million to $4 million in the past 18 months. She went on to say that this was all accomplished with absolutely no change in the patient base.
Governor Quinn and the city of Chicago are aware that cutting Roseland’s healthcare services would only exacerbate an already desperate situation on the far south side. This is a community with abundant unemployment, housing (and now, school) foreclosures, and street violence. Compared to the west and north sides, the south is a relative healthcare desert. By reducing or completely eliminating a service that is already scarce, the devastating effects of poverty and gang violence will only be compounded.
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In March 2013, Total Security Management sued Roseland for more than $345,000 in unpaid bills, although that case is still pending. Nearly half of Roseland’s revenue comes from Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor that is also known for slow payments. As mentioned, the majority of Roseland’s patients are uninsured, leaving the hospital to foot the steep bills for charity care and other unpaid community benefits. On average, the hospital collects only about 17 cents for every dollar it bills.
The hospital says it will need upwards of $45 million to put it on a path to long-term sustainability. It has been in talks with Governor Quinn and other state officials for the money but has not yet reached an agreement in regards to when or how much aid will come.
Medical malpractice lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm affirm that medical negligence is too often the result of understaffed, overworked employees. We are currently investigating cases involving medical malpractice and negligence; if you or a loved one was seriously injured by the negligence of a medical provider, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your pain and suffering.