Cook County Health System CEO Terry Mason discusses the conversion, what patients can expect and the struggle that went into making the change happen.
Oak Forest Hospital has closed its doors and re-opened them as a new health care center.
The hospital officially shut down its inpatient services Thursday. It turned into an outpatient clinic with a 24-hour immediate care center.
"By transforming Oak Forest Hospital into a regional outpatient center we will be able to serve our patients better," said Dr. Terry Mason, Interim CEO at Cook County Health and Hospitals System.
The county believes the move will allow the Oak Forest Health Center in the south suburbs to serve more patients and provide more services, according to a press release.
The facility will staff more primary care physicians, offer more screenings and tests, and increase outpatient psychiatry services.
Dr. Mason called that a move in the right direction.
"Most people could not get access to specialty care - neurologists, orthopedists, urologists, those kind of specialty doctors," said Dr. Mason. "We're going to have more of those available. We anticipate an additional 30,000 visits we'll be able to see.
This change is part of Cook County’s Vision 2015 plan, which will move the health system from inpatient care to outpatient services. The county is estimating the plan will save taxpayers $50 million a year once everything is in effect, according to a press release.