Advocate, Aurora Health Care plan mega-merger to create $11B health system

Alfred Osborne
December 6, 2017

Advocate Health Care, which includes Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, plans to merge with Aurora Health Care to create Advocate Aurora Health.

If successful, the new company, deemed Advocate Aurora Health, would be the 10th largest non-profit healthcare system in the US with nearly three million patients served each year.

The merger between Advocate and Aurora would put 27 hospitals with 3,300 physicians and 70,000 other employees under the same roof.

Asked how Advocate's mission-based culture might or might not affect Aurora, Kou acknowledged the two hospital systems are unique and efforts would be made "to become one from a culture standpoint while honoring our history and all those things that have made Aurora and Advocate special".

The Downers Grove, Ill. -based Advocate Health Care is a not-for-profit, mission-based health system affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Church of Christ.

The systems said enhanced scale, greater access and efficiencies and a mutual commitment to "transform the care delivery model" inspired the merger plan, which builds on the 20-year relationship the two health systems have had through the joint ownership and operation of ACL Laboratories.

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The announced merger continues a trend among health systems to merge, buy, or sell.

"For the communities in IL and Wisconsin that we serve and for our two organizations, this is an unprecedented opportunity to shape our future and better serve patients", said Nick Turkal, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Aurora. Nick Turkal, who's led Aurora since 2006, and Jim Skogsbergh, president and chief executive officer of Advocate, would serve as co-CEOs. "By joining forces we will be able to expand our network to scale innovation and create a destination in the Midwest for patients and the talented clinicians who care for them". A single, unified board would be created with an equal number of members from the existing boards.

As health systems and hospitals adjust to the push for value-based care, alternative payments and accountable care organizations, systems with less experience and knowledge have to factor in how they will achieve those goals.

The merger needs approval from state regulatory agencies in IL and Wisconsin and from the Federal Trade Commission.

Advocate and Aurora's combined annual revenue is about $11 billion. Closing is expected by mid-2018. Each system would maintain its current headquarters, according to the announcement.

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