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MERCY TO CLOSE AFTER MERGER FALLS THROUGH: Mercy Hospital & Medical Center on Chicago’s Near South Side plans to close next year, with the 168-year-old institution planning to open an outpatient center.
“Monthly operating losses of $4 million can no longer be sustained,” according to a statement from the hospital, noting that the “aging facility will require at least $100 million of additional capital investments in the next five years to maintain a safe and sustainable acute care environment.”
Mercy, owned by Catholic giant Trinity Health, was among four financially struggling Chicago hospitals that had planned to merge into a single entity. That deal fell apart in May. Mercy will close between Feb. 1 and May 31, subject to approval from the state. READ MORE.
RARE DOUBLE-LUNG TRANSPLANT PATIENT GOES HOME: Mayra Ramirez, the first novel coronavirus patient to undergo a rare double-lung transplant surgery, returned home Wednesday.
Ramirez, 28, underwent the operation at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, June 5 after her lungs sustained serious damage from COVID-19.
A month later, the hospital performed another double-lung transplant on Brian Kuhns, 62, of Lake Zurich. Kuhns had spent 100 days on extracorporeal life support, the longest a U.S. COVID-19 patient had been on ECMO support.
“Mayra and Brian wouldn’t be alive today without the double-lung transplants,” says Ankit Bharat, MD, chief of thoracic surgery and surgical director of the NorthwesternMedicine Lung Transplant Program who performed the transplants. “COVID-19 completely destroyed their lungs and they were critically ill going into the transplant procedure making it a daunting undertaking,”
Both patients are now breathing on their own, suggesting the operation could be a life-saving option for COVID-19 patients with severe lung damage.
A PEEK AT TRUMP’S UNRELEASED DRUG-PRICING ORDER: When the Trump administration wouldn’t release the text of the President’s drug-pricing executive order, Modern Healthcare got creative, studying the partial text from an Associated Press photo. The text indicates that the White House is using a more aggressive version of a payment demonstration for outpatient drugs to try to pressure drugmakers to the negotiating table.
A NEW CEO MAY NOT BE ENOUGH TO HELP WAGS: With Stefano Pessina remaining as executive chairman and the largest shareholder, the next chief executive will be accountable for his or her predecessor’s strategic missteps—with little or no ability to change course, writes Crain’s Joe Cahill. READ MORE.
MEDICAL DISTRICT PROJECTS CLOSER TO REALITY: A venture controlled by Chicago developer Elzie Higginbottom won permits last week for foundation work on a six-story hotel and 11-story residential building at the Gateway, part of the plans for a $300 million mixed-use complex in the Illinois Medical District that has struggled for half a decade to land financing, according to city of Chicago records.
Developing a hotel amid the pandemic is a bold move, given the trauma hotel investors have recently endured with leisure travel sapped and conventions, trade shows and corporate meetings canceled or postponed. But demand for hotel rooms in the IMD could differ from the broader market, tied more closely to families of patients receiving treatment at IMD hospital buildings. READ MORE.
HIMSS PUSHES BACK 2021 CONFERENCE: Looks like we’re entering into the second round of postponed health care conventions. Members of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society will wait another year to gather after the Chicago-based health care IT group moved its five-day annual conference from early March to Aug. 9, 2021 in Las Vegas, Modern Healthcare reports.
OAK STREET SETS IPO TERMS: Chicago-based Medicare primary care company Oak Street Health plans to raise $250 million by offering 15.6 million shares at a price range of $15 to $17, Renaissance Capital reported.
RATINGS UPGRADE FOR SILVER CROSS: Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded Silver Cross Hospital’s rating to A3 from Baa1, with its outlook revised to “stable,” the New Lenox hospital said in a statement. Moody’s noted Silver Cross’s margins and liquidity are expected to continue to improve after remaining strong over the last five years.
MEDLINE TO HAND OUT MASKS AND SANITIZER: Medline Industries will provide Lake County residents with 50,000 face masks and bottles of hand sanitizer on Saturday at the company’s Waukegan distribution center, the company said in a statement.
The medical products company distributed some 100,000 face masks in Chicago last month and recently announced a $1 million donation to organizations dedicated to improving racial equality.
WALGREENS FINED UNDER CICERO MASK REGULATION: Walgreens is paying about $6,000 in fines after locations in Cicero failed to enforce the town’s mandate that customers and employees wear face masks.
The company received eight citations—each of which carries a penalty of $750—across three locations for violating the town’s April executive order regarding the use of face masks. READ MORE.
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE:
• Dr. Rachel Engen has been named medical director of the Pediatric Kidney Transplant Program at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, succeeding Dr. Amy Bobrowski who ended her service at Lurie Children’s after 18 years. Engen, a pediatric nephrologist, has served on the Lurie kidney transplant program since 2017.
• Meanwhile, Dr. Caroline Lemoine, a pediatric surgeon specializing in transplantation and hepatobiliary surgery, has been named surgical director of Lurie’s kidney transplant program. She takes over for Dr. Riccardo Superina, who will remain at Lurie Children’s in his positions as the division head of transplant surgery, co-director of the Siragusa Transplantation Center, surgical director of the Pediatric Liver Transplant Surgery Program and the Robert E. Schneider Chair in Transplantation.
• Nancy Goguen was unanimously appointed to an additional one-year term as chair of the National Board of Easterseals, the Chicago-based nonprofit that provides services and advocacy for people with disabilities. Dr. Catherine “Alicia” Georges, a former president of the 150,000-member National Black Nurses Association, has been named member of the board.
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