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Fate of Oak Forest (IL) Hospital up for vote

Southtown Star/Associated Press, August 16, 2011

Cook County officials, facing a multimillion-dollar budget deficit, will be back before the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Board at 10 a.m. this morning to try to convince a nine-member state panel to close Oak Forest Hospital. In May, four of five review board members in attendance voted to close the hospital, but state law requires that it must be passed by a majority of the nine-member board, or five members. Gov. Pat Quinn has since filled three vacancies on that board. Emotions surrounding the decision have run high; the board initially rejected Cook County's closure plan after patients and union workers loudly protested that it would hurt health care in the already underserved area. But largely overlooked in the debate is how the board's power is a rarity in government regulation. Emotions surrounding the decision have run high; the board initially rejected Cook County's closure plan after patients and union workers loudly protested that it would hurt health care in the already underserved area. But largely overlooked in the debate is how the board's power is a rarity in government regulation.