The Chicago area's Roman Catholic hospitals are accelerating network formation in light of healthcare reform.
Of the 17 Chicago-area Catholic hospitals that participated in a network-feasibility study late last year, 11 have moved to the next step and hired the management consulting firm of Deloitte & Touche to help them develop a strategic plan.
"This is becoming more defined, and it either meets or doesn't meet others' objectives," said Jim Lubawski, president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Alliance of Metropolitan Chicago. "These hospitals believe there is a need to explore ways of working more closely together to create cost efficiencies without sacrificing their level of quality."
The Catholic Health Alliance represents the 20 hospitals in the Chicago archdiocese, which covers Cook and Lake counties.
Those continuing with the network are: St. Anthony Hospital, Chicago; St. Bernard Hospital, Chicago; St. Cabrini Hospital, Chicago; Columbus Hospital, Chicago; St. Francis Hospital, Evanston; Holy Cross Hospital, Chicago; St. James Hospital and Health Centers, Chicago Heights; St. Joseph Hospital and Health Care Center, Chicago; Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood; Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center, Chicago; and Resurrection Medical Center, Chicago.
With more than 3,600 beds, the 11-hospital network would be a powerful force in the Chicago market.
Meanwhile, the nine other area Catholic hospitals are opting to go their own way, but most aren't likely to remain stand-alone facilities.
Holy Family Hospital in Des Plaines, Ill., and Oak Park (Ill.) Hospital are affiliated with another Chicago network, the Rush System for Health.
Others told MODERN HEALTHCARE they are studying their options. They include: St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital Center, Chicago; Alexian Brothers Medical Center, Chicago; Little Company of Mary Hospital & Health Care Center, Evergreen Park; and 199-bed St. Elizabeth's Hospital, Chicago.
"Our intent is to be a part of a network, but we're looking at all of our alternatives," said Martin Judd, St. Elizabeth's vice president of marketing and planning. Mr. Judd wouldn't elaborate.
St. Therese Medical Center of Waukegan, Ill., decided to remain with a four-hospital Catholic network concentrated in the Chicago suburbs known as Franciscan Sisters Health Care System of Frankfort, Ill.