Dear editor:

It is disappointing that your article regarding the possible merger of Illinois Masonic Medical Center and Advocate Health Care (April 14) fails to accurately report our genuine interest in maintaining and enhancing access to the full range of health care services for community residents. It is even more disappointing that your reporter failed to ask us even a single question regarding the understandable concerns expressed by some residents who fear the loss of services in the Ravenswood community.

As noted in the article, we are planning to consolidate the operations and services of Illinois Masonic and Advocate’s Ravenswood Hospital Medical Center. The goals are not motivated by the bottom line, as suggested in the article. Instead, our purpose is to make certain that we can continue to provide comprehensive health-care service to the community for the long term.

The merger will bring Chicago’s north side a multisite health-care organization that maintains commitments to all current programs and services using the existing Ravenswood Hospital and Illinois Masonic campuses and off-campus sites. While different inpatient services will be offered at each main campus, the full range of health-care offerings provided today will be available after the proposed merger is completed.

We also will maintain our strong community-based presence through existing and additional outpatient sites, including our very effective Ravenswood Hospital health clinics serving thousands of young people each year at Amundsen and Lake View high schools.

Failure to recognize and address the significant and increasing financial pressures facing the health-care community today would be irresponsible on our part (witness this week’s closing of Doctor’s Hospital in Hyde Park). We are acting to preserve needed community resources while maintaining access for the people we serve. We also are acting in good faith to address the concerns of employees who may be asked to consider new positions within our organization, as well as the relatively small number who may not have a job with us when the consolidation is complete. We are reaching out to other area employers to help those folks find new jobs.

We will seek more opportunities to dialogue with community members in order to share our plans and hear of concerns. We will be forthcoming and answer questions. Our goal remains to serve as a viable community resource for many years to come. We believe our plan will make that possible.

John Blair

Chief Executive

Ravenswood Hospital

Medical Center