Health

Pipeline Health to sell remaining hospitals in Chicago area, West Suburban and Weiss Memorial

If and when the sale is approved, Pipeline will no longer own hospitals or other healthcare facilities in Illinois.

Resilience Healthcare is a for-profit healthcare company owned by Manoj Prasad, a health executive who has primarily worked as an independent consultant in community hospitals. He has been living in Detroit for a long time, but plans to move to the Chicago area within a month and buy a house near the West Suburban Medical Center.

Prasad says he has helped institutions in Michigan, Florida and Texas improve financial, clinical and cultural operations. On his LinkedIn page, he describes himself as a “CEO of hospitals and group practices,” but Prasad has no hospital experience.

Ratnakar R. Patlola of New Jersey is Resilience’s primary financial partner and is helping finance the acquisition by West Suburban and Weiss Memorial.

Prasad said he was interested in buying West Suburban, which has about 174 beds, and Weiss Memorial, which has about 144 beds, for nearly nine months. He wants to expand the services offered at the two hospitals and stabilize them after the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like the health care industry in general, West Suburban and Weiss Memorial suffer from severe labor shortages. Prasad says there are over 100 job openings at each site.

Prasad says he spent most of Wednesday informing local lawmakers and associations of his intention to buy West Suburban and Weiss Memorial. Interviews were held with Illinois Representative Greg Harris, Illinois Senator Sarah Feigengoltz, and the Illinois Health and Hospital Association.

“The reception I’ve received so far, despite the history the vendors have had in this space, is absolutely cordial,” Prasad said in an interview. “The last three groups of owners were kind of missing. I heard this from the employees I spoke to.”

Pipeline originally acquired West Suburban and Weiss Memorial in 2019, along with the now-closed Westlake Hospital, from Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare for $70 million. Pipeline came under fire weeks after the deal when it attempted to close Westlake Hospital, saying at the time of the sale that it had no plans to close the facility.

Hospital security later filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy after a court order prevented Pipeline from terminating hospital services despite receiving state approval to close. The hospital officially closed soon after, with lawsuits later. disclosed The pipeline has always intended to close the facility.

Pipeline, which also owns real estate in Dallas and Los Angeles, says it has invested $60 million in West Suburban and Weiss Memorial over the past three years to improve the infrastructure and technology used at the sites. Pipeline says it has also expanded its clinical programs, such as adding gender confirmation services. Most of the investment came after new corporate management was appointed, the company said.

In early 2021, Pipeline appointed Andrey Soran as CEO, replacing Jim Edwards.

Soran says the sale of West Suburban and Weiss Memorial is “unrelated” to the controversy surrounding the shutdown of the Westlake pipeline.

“Honestly, it was a generation ago,” says Soran. “Now we have a very good relationship with the communities we serve. We want to put them in good hands.”

To demonstrate Pipeline’s commitment to the success of West Suburban and Weiss Memorial, the firm says it will return $12 million in proceeds from the sale, which will be reinvested in two hospitals.

Prasad’s first task, if he approves a new owner, is to fill in the worker gaps at Weiss Memorial and West Suburban to keep the facilities running at full capacity. More than 75% of West Suburban patients are black, and about 80% of them live in the Austin area. Meanwhile, Weiss, on the north side, primarily serves Medicaid patients.

Prasad says he intends to own the hospitals for the long term. Asked if he plans to close West Suburban or Weiss Memorial, Prasad replied, “Absolutely not.”

“And the beauty is that I will live in a society where people can knock on my door and demand that I keep my promise,” Prasad said.

This story was first published in our sister publication Crain’s Chicago Business.


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