North Cook News

North Cook News

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Presence St. Francis in Evanston closing its obstetrics unit, hospital confirms

Business

By W.J. Kennedy | Jul 26, 2019

Francis
St. Francis | AMITA website

Presence St. Francis Hospital on Ridge Road in Evanston is closing its obstetrics unit, hospital spokesman Matt Wakely confirmed to North Cook News.

Additional details on the closing, including how many employees might be affected by it, were not immediately available.

St. Francis delivered 496 babies in 2018, versus 3,520 at NorthShore's Evanston Hospital, according to Leapfrog Health.

In the first half of 2017, twelve percent of St. Francis' business was delivering babies, according to figures filed with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. The hospital billed Medicaid $9.05 million for "delivery and labor room" services over that period.

St. Francis and nine other hospitals in Presence Health were acquired last year by AMITA Health, which recently received approval from the state to discontinue some services at three former Presence hospitals due to low utilization, Modern Healthcare reported on July 19.

“AMITA Health St. Joseph Hospital in Lakeview cut its 23-bed comprehensive physical rehabilitation unit as admissions fell nearly 55 percent from 2014,” the report said. “It saw only 92 patients last year. The Lisle-based 19-hospital network also discontinued open-heart surgery programs at AMITA Health St. Francis Hospital in Evanston and AMITA Health Sts. Mary & Elizabeth.”

AMITA Health Evanston is a Catholic hospital that abides by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare Services, AMITA Health’s website says.

In June, Jackson Park Hospital on the South Side announced that it was closing its obstetrics unit Aug. 4. The hospital cited low birth numbers.

Block Club Chicago reported that Jackson delivers only 180 babies per year, a fraction of the births at other nearby hospitals. The University of Chicago Medical Center delivers 2,615 babies annually.

And in April the Sun-Times reported that the owners of Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park received approval from a state review board that allows them to move forward with plans to close the facility.

The Village of Melrose Park is fighting the closure.

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