BLUE ISLAND, Ill. — Metro South Medical Center in the south suburbs announced to the state Tuesday it plans to close its doors.
The medical center, located in Blue Island, said it will cease operations by the end of the year.
Several local leaders including Blue Island Mayor Domingo Vargas spoke out against the closure.
“We need a hospital in the south land given that hospitals have closed around us,” Vargas said.
State Representative Bob Rita, who serves on the hospital board, said he just learned of the news Thursday and was “blindsided.”
“When we heard it was shocking,” he said. “And not only devastation to the city of Blue Island but the whole south region.”
MetroSouth said patient numbers have dropped since 2014, on average filling a one-third of available in-patient beds.
A statement from the CEO John Walsh,, in part, said, “...the data is clear that patient needs have changed – here and across the country. Enormous half-empty hospitals are not what the future of health care looks like.”
The hospital is the largest private employer in the area with over 800 workers.
MetroSouth points to six hospitals and emergency rooms within 10 miles of Blue Island to pick up the patient loads.
City leaders along with the mayor are planning on a meeting in the coming weeks to explore possible solutions for keeping the hospital open.