The agreement creates a three-hospital system that serves 44 communities with 1.7 million residents in the West and Southwest suburbs and becomes "one of the larger integrated health systems in the state," officials said.
The new health system, which is yet to be named, will focus on improving quality, efficiency and access to care as health care reform is implemented.
"While Elmhurst Memorial and Edward are already nationally recognized for quality and patient satisfaction, our collaboration will lead to even higher quality and improved services and efficiencies for our patients as we meet the challenges of health care reform," Pam Davis, CEO of the new system, said Monday in a statement.
The merger provides suburban patients access to a larger network of physicians with 100 different medical and surgical specialties or sub-specialties, hospital officials said. The new system employs 7,700 people -- 1,680 of them physicians -- and brings in revenues of about $1 billion a year.
The Edward/Elmhurst merger also allows clinical staff across the newly formed health system to share best practices and treatment protocols, gain savings from economies of scale and deliver more convenient services to patients.
While Edward Hospital President Davis will lead the new system as CEO, Mary Lou Mastro is now president and CEO of Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare. Gina Sharp was promoted to Mastro's former role as president of Linden Oaks at Edward, a 108-bed behavioral health hospital on Edward's campus in Naperville, which is considered the third hospital in the new system.
The merger was finalized less than six months after the two organizations announced their intent to combine into one larger system. Since that announcement in late January, the merger has been reviewed and approved by state and federal regulators, hospital officials said.
The Edward/Elmhurst merger follows the move two years ago to combine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield and Delnor Hospital in Geneva. The two hospitals merged in March 2011 and formed Cadence Health, citing similar goals of improving patients' access to high-quality care and diverse specialists.
Officials said the Edward/Elmhurst merger also builds on Illinois Health Partners, in which Edward Hospital collaborates with DuPage Medical Group to jointly manage care for more than 100,000 HMO patients in the region.