Mercy Hospital is closing next year, but its owners plan to open a $13 million outpatient center on the South Side next fall

Abdel Jimenez, Chicago Tribune
·2 min read

The owner of Mercy Hospital & Medical Center is seeking approval to open a $13 million outpatient center in Chicago’s Oakland neighborhood in 2021 after announcing plans earlier this year to close the storied South Side hospital.

Mercy Care Center, slated to open Sept. 30, will offer diagnostics testing, urgent care and care coordination services connecting patients to other providersaccording to an application Trinity Health submitted to the state this week.

The facility will occupy space at 3753 S. Cottage Grove Ave., about two miles away from Mercy Hospital, and is expected to serve more than 65,000 patients each year, the application said.

The outpatient center would primarily treat uninsured patients and those on Medicaid and Medicare. Mercy Care Center is expected to generate an operating loss of about $3 million per year as a result, according to the application.

Trinity Health, the not-for-profit Catholic health system that owns Mercy Hospital and is based in Livonia, Michigan, filed the application Monday with the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board. The state’s health board is tentatively scheduled to vote on the project Jan. 26.

Trinity said in a Friday news release it wanted to open the outpatient center in response to the growing health disparities among African Americans and other diverse groups in the area. Those include illnesses like high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity that are treated in outpatient centers many residents on the South Side are unable to access.

The health system said plans to develop the center arose after announcing in July plans to close Mercy Hospital next year, which is pending regulatory approvals with the state. At the time, community groups and labor unions decried the decision as another hit to African Americans on the South Side.

Trinity said it decided to close Mercy because of declining inpatient numbers, an aging facility that needs at least $100 million in renovations, competition from large health systems and academic medical centers, and increased demand for outpatient services.

Mercy had previously planned to merge with Advocate Trinity Hospital in Calumet Heights, South Shore Hospital in South Chicago and St. Bernard Hospital in Englewood, but the deal fell apart after state lawmakers failed to set aside funding for the proposal.

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