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posted: 4/30/2014 5:01 AM

Closing Maryville will put patients at risk

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Des Plaines-based Maryville Behavioral Health Hospital filed a petition to close its facility and will be seeking to get on the agenda for the June 3 meeting of the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board. Maryville informed the Illinois Nurses Association, which represents 26 nurses there, that the reason for the closure is financial, stating that the hospital lost $4 million dollars last year and is on track to lose that amount this fiscal year. INA has made a thorough request of Maryville Academy's financial records, and in the year ending June 30, 2010, indicates the hospital created a surplus. Therefore, INA has made thorough request for information, so that we can examine the financial necessity of the closure.

We have grave concerns about what will happen to the current patients at Maryville if the hospital is closed. Area hospitals that may end up receiving these patients are either ill-equipped to handle them or, in some cases, have dubious safety records. For example, one of the hospitals where these patients would potentially be placed is Chicago Lakeshore Hospital, where numerous sexual assaults of patients have taken place. According to report by the University of Illinois at Chicago, a lack of supervision directly contributed to the sexual assaults. In one of those incidents, state Department of Public Health inspectors cited the hospital for safety violations after an 11-year-old boy alleged that two male patients sexually assaulted him in a bathroom that should have been locked and supervised by hospital staff.

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Closing Maryville is the worst possible decision for at-risk patients, nurses and the communities affected. We urge all parties to come together to seek a resolution that is in the best interest of all parties.

Alice J. Johnson

Executive director

Illinois Nurses Association

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