Former CEO speaks on Cottage Hospital closing
GALESBURG, Illinois (KWQC) -With employees terminated and the hospital temporarily closed, Cottage Hospital and Clinics in Galesburg are drawing the attention of the medical community.
After losing their Medicare services and filing for bankruptcy at the Cottage Clinics, the hospital fired more employees Jan. 8. Employees tell TV6 they were notified by e-mail.
”No, that’s not normal the way it happened,” Bob Moore, CEO of Cottage Hospital from May 2019 to June 2020, said. “There is a very organized thing that occurs and that you announced. That they’re going to be closing. You work with the state, depending upon the state that you’re in. You let the employees know, you start working with the physicians to transition and you have a plan in place and it’s not a one-hour notice that you’re going to close a hospital.”
Moore has been in the industry for 43 years, so he’s seen a hospital close before. In his experience, that process of working with the state, and coming up with a comprehensive plan for transferring patient care, usually includes a 90 to 120-day notice of the hospital’s closing.
These plans help employees prepare to find other work, but they also keep patients safe.
“What if I had a heart attack last night, and I didn’t know that Cottage ER was closed,” Moore said. “I’m now a 10-minute delay on a massive coronary and I die. That’s a risk.”
The impact on patients also carries outside of the emergency room.
“You know, there’s risk as a former patient, how do I get my medical records?” Moore said.
Despite all the uncertainty, Moore thinks it’s unlikely that Cottage Hospital is closed for good.
”I know that Cottage will be reinvented somehow,” he said. “It won’t be the same Cottage, but there’s still going to be opportunities. Because St. Mary’s cannot take care of all the needs of Knox County in the surrounding area, there’s just, the capacity is not there.”
And fortunately, demand is high for medical professionals looking for a new workplace to call home.
“Unfortunately, it may not be in Galesburg,” Moore said. “But there’s going to be work for them because they’re the type of employee I’m looking for all the time. Because they’re dedicated, they’re loyal, and they’re committed, and they’ll do what needs to be done to take care of that patient. ”
But until Cottage Hospital is reinvented, whatever owners it may have, whatever service it provides, Moore has a message for his former coworkers.
“Stay Cottage strong,” Moore said. “It’ll all work out. It’s a bad weekend. Not a good way to start 22. But just stay strong. I’ve always figured, in my career, when one door closes, five others open.”
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