ROCKFORD (WREX) — One local group is calling out Mercyhealth leaders by name after the health system announced changes to its emergency department at its Rockton Avenue campus earlier this week. But this isn't the first time the group is speaking up.
"But it's kinda evolved into trying to stop the slow closure of the hospital. That's what I really think it is, just a real slow closure," said Roscoe Township Trustee and Have Mercy organizer Elizabeth Lindquist.
Lindquist says community leaders came together to create Have Mercy back in May after Mercyhealth announced it would no longer accept certain Medicaid patients. That decision left thousands in the area to find a different healthcare provider.
Then in July, Mercyhealth petitioned to close its behavior health unit at the Rockton Avenue campus.
The group quickly took notice and worked on an online petition to spread awareness on Mercyhealth's recent actions and how those decisions could impact communities on the west side of Rockford.
Lindquist says there are names behind those decisions and those names sit on the Corporation Board of Directors.
"There are going to be a lot of people who are going to lose services, suffer and I think there will probably be more deaths as a result of not having real emergency services over there. Those people all have names. We know who they are. I thought it was important that those people know who those decision makers were," said Lindquist.
Lindquist went on to say that the community on the west side of the Rock River are in need of emergency services. She said it shouldn't all be up to SwedishAmerican to take care of them.
The online petition has collected more than 300 signatures on change.org.