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State OKs plan to close Oak Forest (IL) hospital, switch to outpatient care

Chicago Sun-Times/Southtown Star, August 17, 2011

After several attempts to pull the plug on Oak Forest Hospital, Cook County officials on Tuesday finally persuaded the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board to do just that. The panel approved the plan on a 7-1 vote after listening to two hours of public comments on both sides of the emotional issue. County board President Toni Preckwinkle said she was "very grateful" for the board's support and plans to convert the old hospital into a regional outpatient center beginning Sept. 1. The conversion is part of a three-year plan to invest $19 million in the 1.2 million-square-foot facility, she said. "It will allow for better and more responsible use of resources to dramatically improve health access for medically underserved residents in the Southland," she said. "I will continue to utilize my Southland Health Advisory Council to provide input to my office and to the health care system on the delivery of health care throughout the south suburbs."