Former Mercy Hospital Welcomes Return of Ambulances, Relieving Overcrowded Conditions at Other Area Hospital Emergency Rooms on Chicago’s Southside

CHICAGO, IL – After nearly a year without ambulance runs to one of the city’s oldest hospitals, Insight Hospital & Medical Center, the former Mercy Hospital, has received Chicago Fire Department ambulances to its Emergency Room once again. Insight Hospital has been granted authorization by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to become a comprehensive Emergency Department. Following the decision by the owners of the former Mercy Hospital to downgrade the emergency room from comprehensive to basic, the Chicago Fire Department was forced to reroute patients and ambulances to other area hospitals. By diverting ambulances that would normally be routed to Mercy, many hospitals on Chicago’s south and near west sides were forced to receive patients from what was previously one of the busiest emergency rooms in the city.  The first ambulance runs were received at Insight Hospital after being granted comprehensive emergency department designation by IDPH earlier this month.

Insight Hospital & Medical Center assumed control of the historic community safety-net hospital in June 2021 and currently operates as a 414-bed hospital licensed by the Illinois Health Facilities Review Board and IDPH.  In an effort to respond to the demands of community residents, the current owners prioritized reinstating emergency ambulance runs to the hospital.  “One of the first requests we received from community residents after assuming operational control of the hospital was to allow ambulances to return to the emergency room” stated Insight CEO Atif Bawahab. “We heard the request loud and clear, and immediately began addressing staffing levels necessary to ensure we could safely handle the increase in patients once ambulance runs resumed.”

“So much has gone into the journey to rebuild healthcare and health equity in the community,” says Dr. Anita Goyal, the Chair of Emergency Medicine at Insight. “We are very excited to once again open our doors, welcome Chicago’s first responders, and care for patients brought by ambulance to our critical care emergency department.” Even without ambulances bringing patients to Insight Hospital, the ER still serviced almost 12,000 drive-up and walk-in emergency room patients from June 2021 through the end of the year. The emergency room at Insight Hospital is staffed around the clock by a team of physicians, nurses, and other emergency medical personnel.

Located in Chicago’s historic Bronzeville community Insight Hospital & Medical Center is a community safety-net hospital, providing access to medical services to patients of Chicago’s near south side regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.  “Our goal is to provide patient care second to none,” says hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Dillon Bannis, “this includes ensuring patients can receive urgent critical care in the community where they live.”

A community celebration and emergency room opening ceremony are planned for early March.


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