|ROCKFORD — Mercy Health System and Rockford Health System announced Oct. 27 that they are merging to create a multi-regional health system comprising five hospitals, more than 550 physicians, and 80 outpatient clinics and other service sites that provide care to residents in more than 40 communities in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.
The Boards of Directors of the two organizations approved the creation of the new, as yet unnamed health system on October 23.
It is not anticipated that there will be any regulatory barriers to the creation of the new system. The new system will continue to operate as a not-for-profit organization with a charitable mission to provide excellent medical care close to home.
“Rockford Health System is an exceptional health care provider with an outstanding group of well respected specialists, sub-specialists and primary care providers with a mission, vision and values that mirror our own,” said Mercy Health System President and CEO Javon R. Bea. “By thoughtfully aligning our organizations, Mercy Health System and Rockford Health System will create a regional system that honors our existing legacies while strengthening both systems for the future. This dynamic partnership will provide our patients with outstanding, coordinated care that encompasses nearly every medical specialty and is delivered conveniently and close to home. As neighboring systems in the Stateline area, this partnership builds on the patterns of how people live, work, play and shop within the geographic footprint.”
“The Board of Directors of Rockford Health System has engaged in a thorough and active process to identify a strategic partner for the future,” said Gary Kaatz, Rockford Health System President and CEO. “We are excited to find that excellent partner in Mercy Health System. By joining together, we expand our opportunities to innovate, take advantage of synergies, explore economies of scale, recruit excellent providers, improve community health and effectively respond to healthcare reform. Our two systems have tremendous similarities in our focus on clinical excellence, patient safety and demonstrated quality outcomes.”
Adds Kaatz, “Rockford Health System is impressed by Mercy’s nationally recognized physician partnership model that includes more than 400 employed physicians. Mercy has managed large, multi-specialty physician group practices for more than two decades. The advanced physician and clinical protocols they have developed not only benefit patient care but also position the organization for success under an Accountable Care Organization model of care. That expertise makes Mercy an ideal candidate to help the new organization fully realize the benefits of integration.”
Mercy Health System and Rockford Health System are innovators with advanced medical programs such as da Vinci robotic surgery. Each system also has programs that nicely complement the other. For example, Rockford is the region’s children’s hospital with pediatric and neonatal intensive care. They also provide care through a large home care agency and a free-standing rehabilitation hospital. Mercy ‘s vertically integrated system has operated as a virtual accountable care organization for over 20 years and has a well-developed physician partnership model which compliments Rockford’s focus on physician leadership and medical staff development.
Each of the two systems is among the largest private employers in its respective community and, together, the new combined system will directly contribute to the economic vitality of the two-state region.
The Mercy Health System and Rockford Health System executive team will work in close collaboration to ensure a smooth transition. Bea will lead the system, which will operate under a newly formed parent company. A nine-member board of directors that includes Bea, four representatives from Rockford Health System and four representatives from Mercy Health System will guide its operation. Rowland J. McClellan will serve as the parent Board Chairperson. Rockford Health System President and CEO Gary E. Kaatz will continue to report to the Rockford Health System Board as well as to Javon Bea as CEO of the parent company. Bea will continue to serve as CEO of Mercy Health System.
Mercy Health System and Rockford Health System will both maintain their respective names. No changes are being made to the names of the organizations at this time.
The assets of the charitable foundations of the two organizations will remain separate, to be used to support the facilities and operations where the gift was made.