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Northwestern Memorial, Cadence Health in merger talks


By Andis Robeznieks
Posted: March 13, 2014 - 8:00 pm ET
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Chicago's Northwestern Memorial HealthCare continued its suburban push with negotiations to form an integrated healthcare delivery system with Winfield, Ill.-based Cadence Health.

The new system would be named Northwestern Medicine and both organizations, which signed a letter of intent to enter exclusive talks, would have equal representation in its governance. Dean Harrison, Northwestern president and CEO, would lead the new system. Mike Vivoda, Cadence president and CEO, will become Northwestern's regional president.

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Just last month, Northwestern applied for a state permit to build a $378 million, 114-bed replacement for its 188-bed Northwestern Lake Forest (Ill.) Hospital. In November, Northwestern agreed to pay an initial $230.5 million payment followed by annual payments of $118.5 million through 2016 to acquire the 900-physician Northwestern Faculty Foundation multispecialty group. The system's flagship is its 885-bed namesake hospital in Chicago.

The talks come two months after Cadence ended discussions to take over Rockford (Ill.) Health System.

Cadence has two hospitals in Chicago's far Western suburbs: 344-bed Central DuPage Hospitals in Winfield and 159-bed Delnor Hospital in Geneva, Ill. In addition, it has the 250-doctor Cadence Physician Group plus cardiology and oncology clinical affiliations with the Cleveland Clinic. It also has a clinical affiliation with Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago.

“A merger of our health systems would combine Cadence Health's strong portfolio of primary and specialty care with our strength as one of the nation's leading academic medical centers,” Harrison said in a news release.

Harrison described what would be created as an “integrated academic health system that benefits all residents, regardless of their ability to pay, by giving them increased access to physicians, clinical trials and Northwestern University research programs as well as integrated primary, secondary and advanced tertiary services.”

Such a system would also help realize Northwestern's goal of becoming a national center for medical research.

Follow Andis Robeznieks on Twitter: @MHARobeznieks


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