Friday, May 14, 2010

Client News: Rockford Health System Signs Letter of Intent to Join OSF HealthCare

A non-binding Letter of Intent has been signed that could result in Rockford Health System joining the OSF Healthcare System. Over the next several months, the two organizations will complete due diligence and decide if OSF Healthcare System will acquire Rockford Health System. The move could result in Rockford’s two oldest hospitals, Rockford Memorial Hospital and OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, becoming OSF Healthcare System’s Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin Region. A decision on whether to move forward with the acquisition is expected this fall.

"We believe that by combining the talents, technology and facilities of our two exceptional health care delivery systems, we would be positioning Rockford as a regional destination for outstanding medical care and ultimately boost the local economy," says Gary Kaatz, President and CEO of Rockford Health System. "Our goal is to determine if working together will bring significant benefits to our patients, our organizations, and our community."

"By joining together, we could create centers of excellence in many clinical areas that would be among the best in the Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin Region," says Dave Schertz, President and CEO of OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center. “That would help us recruit the most highly-skilled physicians across all specialties, broaden the continuum of services and improve patient access to the highest level of care.”

Economies of scale would also promote efficiencies and reduce costs at a time when health care reform and the economy are pressuring health care bottom lines across the country. "This is about providing our region with the highest quality, yet most cost effective, efficient health care," adds Kaatz. “We believe it would be very positive for local employers, as well.”

Proposed in the Letter of Intent is a new model for OSF Healthcare System, which currently consists of seven acute care facilities across the states of Illinois and Michigan, as well as a long-term care facility and two colleges of nursing. A local community board of directors would be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day, Rockford-based operations of the new Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin Region. The board would also be responsible for recruiting, credentialing and privileging the medical staff.

The combined system, owned by The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, would continue to operate both licensed hospitals consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church. The acquisition would include Rockford Health System entities, including Rockford Memorial Hospital, Rockford Health Physicians and Visiting Nurses Association. Only the Rockford Memorial Development Foundation would remain independent and support health care initiatives throughout northern Illinois. During this due diligence process, daily operations will remain as normal at all OSF and RHS facilities. If a definitive agreement is reached and the transaction is completed, the combined organizations will then move forward, under the guidance of the local governing board, to develop a health care model that best suits the needs of the region.

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