Nurses, protesters call for South Side clinics and hospitals to stay open

Nurses at Cook County’s Provident Hospital on Chicago’s South Side are warning of major cuts coming to the county’s healthcare system. 

They say it is going to hurt thousands of poor and uninsured Cook County residents who depend on the county's healthcare system. 

However, the county says it’s improving services, not cutting them.

About two dozen nurses and healthcare professionals gathered across the street from Provident Hospital, blasting county leaders for proposed cuts in the healthcare budget.

"Unfortunately I have watched them diminish resources for our patients over a period of time. But we're still here and we still make something out of nothing,” said Sadari Mccarthren, a nurse at Provident Hospital.

The county has proposed cutting about 130 jobs across it's entire healthcare system, plus closing two South Side clinics and moving those services and doctors into Provident Hospital.

"We are asking that Toni Preckwinkle and the commissioners do not make cuts to Cook County Health especially during a global pandemic,” said Nahsis Davis, another nurse at Provident Hospital.

But a Preckwinkle spokesperson disputes the nurses' claim that the county is trying to shrink Provident, saying more than $200 million has been budgeted to remake the hospital over the next three years.

"The pandemic will not deter President Preckwinkle's commitment to always applying an equity lens into the county's decision making process. This proposed plan ensures that patients continue to have access to high-quality healthcare,” the spokesperson said.

Provident becomes even more critical with the news that Mercy Hospital in Bronzeville will be closing after 165 years. The nurses say that will put an even greater strain on their limited resources.