Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation that will take the remaining funds from a long-closed Wood River hospital and return them to the property owners whose taxes supported the facility. An estimated $8.4 million in remaining funds from the Wood River Township Hospital, which closed in 2000, will be disbursed to property owners in the Wood River Township.
"Since I took office, I have made identifying areas of government where we can reduce costs and improve services a top priority," Governor Quinn said. "After the Wood River Township Hospital closed over a decade ago, the hospital's board worked diligently to make sure that its bills were paid. This legislation will dissolve the hospital and give the remaining money back to the taxpayers of Wood River Township."
Senate Bill 496, which was sponsored by State Senator William Haine (D-Alton) and State Representative Daniel Beiser (D-Alton), passed with a bipartisan majority. It was prompted by a special circumstance which would not allow the hospital's funds to be used for anything but hospital business without action by the General Assembly, despite the fact that there was no longer an operating hospital or hospital business.
"I'm glad we could help Wood River's taxpayers and finalize this enthusiastically supported plan," State Senator Haine said.
"Prior to this law, there was no clear direction on the process for finalizing the affairs of the former hospital and making sure things were done properly and efficiently," State Representative Beiser said. "This law gives clarity and makes sure outstanding debts are paid, patient records are transferred properly and surplus funds are returned to taxpayers."
After the Wood River Township Hospital was closed in 2000, its board worked to ensure that its debt obligations were paid, especially pension commitments for the hospital's employees. Senate Bill 496 allows for the hospital to enter its final phase by permitting it to sell property and pay off debt. The hospital's remaining funds, estimated to be around $8.4 million, will then be given back to the taxpayers of Wood River Township based on property value. The bill then provides for the hospital to dissolve once and for all.
The bill takes effect immediately.