Alexian Brothers Health System, which has five hospitals in Elk Grove Village and Hoffman Estates, and Adventist Midwest Health, which has four suburban hospitals, have signed a letter of intent to form a partnership.
Both health care company CEOs said Tuesday that under their nonbinding agreement, each company will maintain control of its assets, identities and different religious priorities. Alexian is Roman Catholic, and Adventist is affiliated with the Seventh-Day Adventist faith.
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The partnership will allow the hospital organizations to pool resources, share one another's best practices, and have one parent organization to make services more efficient, extensive, and cost-effective, the CEOs said. That cost savings will eventually be passed on to patients, said Mark A. Frey, president and CEO of Alexian Brothers Health System.
"We do intend, over time, to lower the cost structure of both of our organizations. That's always a good news story, not only for our patients and their families, but the insurance industry who has to pay for those services," Frey said.
The agreement will bring together more than 3,000 physicians to offer better coordinated, more comprehensive care for patients in the Chicago area, the organizations said in an announcement Tuesday.
The agreement, as it stands now, is a nonbinding letter of intent to form a joint operating company. Alexian Brothers, based in Arlington Heights, and Adventist, based in Hinsdale, plan to have a definitive agreement in place by July. After that, they'll seek permission for their joint operating company from the state's Health Facilities Planning Board. The plan is to have this done by Jan. 1, 2015.
Although the new federal health care law "may have precipitated some of this dialogue ... this is so much more about us meeting the needs of our patients," said David L. Crane, president and CEO of Adventist Midwest Health. "When we have a partnership like this, we can take advantage of economies at the overhead level and deliver it in as an efficient of a manner as we can."
Tuesday's announcement was the latest in a series of partnerships and mergers of suburban hospitals. In March, Northwestern Memorial Healthcare announced plans to merge with Cadence, corporate parent to Central DuPage and Delnor hospitals.
Alexian Brothers Health System operates five Northwest suburban hospitals -- Alexian Brothers Medical Center and Alexian Brothers Rehabilitation Hospital in Elk Grove Village and St. Alexius Medical Center, Alexian Brothers Women's and Children's Hospital and Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Center in Hoffman Estates.
Adventist Midwest Health includes four suburban hospitals: Adventist Bolingbrook, Adventist GlenOaks in Glendale Heights, Adventist Hinsdale and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital.