Clos­ing Mercy Hospi­tal will only make Chicago’s racial health care gap worse

Chicago Sun-Times - - OPINION -

The an­nounced clos­ing of Mercy Hospi­tal and Med­i­cal Cen­ter, in the midst of the coro­n­avirus pan­demic, is be­yond com­pre­hen­sion.

Mercy is a com­mu­nity hospi­tal that sees more the 50,000 pa­tients a year and em­ploys more than 1,700 peo­ple. Over 80% of the pop­u­la­tion it serves is eco­nom­i­cally chal­lenged, un­der­served, un­der­priv­i­leged and unin­sured.

Within the Mercy ser­vice area is 62% of Chicago’s African Amer­i­can pop­u­la­tion and 37% of the His­panic pop­u­la­tion. With the clos­ing of Mercy in 2021, ac­cess to med­i­cal and men­tal health ser­vices will be cat­a­stroph­i­cally re­duced at a time when the pan­demic has demon­strated that Black and Brown com­mu­ni­ties are health care deserts.

I do not be­lieve we can stand by help­lessly and watch an­other his­toric hospi­tal close, while we say that we must close the racial health care gap that al­ready ex­ists. Rev. Michael L. Pfleger, Faith Com­mu­nity of St. Sabina

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