By Jim Hagerty
Rockford Health System will soon be joined with a health care company that was also founded in 1883.
The network announced Oct. 27 it will merge with Janesville, Wisconsin-based Mercy Health System to create a multi-regional care system with more than 500 doctors.
“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 health care reform. Our two systems have tremendous similarities in our focus on clinical excellence, patient safety and demonstrated quality outcomes.”
The merger will be overseen by a nine-member board comprising four representatives of Rockford Health System. When the merger is complete, the system will include eight hospitals, 80 outpatient clinics and an array of specialized services spanning 40 communities.
Mercy Health System President and CEO Javon R. Bea said: “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. 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 organization will be known as Interstate Alliance during the merger. In the interim, both organizations will maintain their own identity. A name of the new system is expected at a later date.
Meantime, on the patient level, several facets of both operations must be ironed out — mostly with billing and costs. Leaders say the merger will allow the organization to better serve its communities as the scope of health care is rapidly changing under the Affordable Care Act. Because the act is geared toward integrated health care and bundled services, consolidated regional organizations are becoming more common.
Mercy Health System
Founded in 1883, Mercy Health System is a nonprofit, vertically integrated, multi-specialty health system serving more than 1 million people through 70 facilities in 24 southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois communities.
Over the last 25 years, Mercy has grown from a stand-alone community hospital with no employed physicians into a comprehensive, vertically integrated health system offering an extensive network of primary and specialty care physicians, three hospitals, sub-specialty centers of excellence, insurance products, long-term care, retail services, and preventive health and wellness programs.
Rockford Health System
Rockford Health System also was founded in 1883. It is the largest health system serving northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.
From the Oct. 29-Nov. 4, 2014, issue