Centegra focusing on Huntley hospital, not rivals' merger
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After failing to block the merger of Sherman Health and Advocate Health Care, rival Centegra Health System says it will now concentrate on building its hospital in Huntley.
Centegra, McHenry County's largest employer, intends to build the 128-bed hospital at its existing campus. Centegra officials have no plans to take legal action against the merger, said Susan Milford, senior vice president of strategy and development.
"Our focus is on Centegra Hospital-Huntley," Milford said. "We want to focus on what the needs in the community are for health care and so that's what our focus is."
That hospital is due to open in 2016 and will be built on Centegra's campus at Reed and Haligus roads. The Huntley village board is expected to review its initial construction plans in about a month, Huntley Village Manager Dave Johnson said.
The animosity among the three health systems dates back to 2011, when Elgin-based Sherman and Oak Brook-based Advocate teamed up to stop Centegra from building a hospital in Huntley.
After two no votes, members of the Illinois Health Facilities Services and Review Board finally approved Centegra's $233 million project last year.
But this year, Advocate and Sherman became the targets of opposition from Crystal Lake-based Centegra, which argued that the merger would waste tax dollars, duplicate existing hospital services and that money, rather than patient care, was the prime motivation behind the partnership. In the end, the state panel sided with Sherman and Advocate.
As part of the merger, Advocate, the largest health care system in the state, has made a $200 million commitment to Sherman, money it will use to grow its regional presence "to be assured that we're providing the services and programs that our community needs now and in the future," Sherman spokeswoman Tonya Lucchetti-Hudson said.
The deal is expected to close June 1, and Sherman Hospital will become Advocate Sherman Hospital. Sherman's other care sites will also carry the Advocate name while the two systems fully integrate over the next two years. Starting next month, Sherman will launch a one-to-two year marketing campaign to advertise the name change, Lucchetti-Hudson said.
Meanwhile, Sherman is still moving ahead with the lawsuit it filed in Will County to stop Centegra from building its Huntley hospital.
"We're awaiting the judge's decision on that case," Lucchetti-Hudson said.
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