Five acute-care hospitals from four corporations in southern Illinois have announced they're forming a new healthcare network.
With more than 360 acute-care beds, executives from ASC Health System, Ruma; Shawnee Health Service and Development Corp., Carterville; Southern Illinois Healthcare Enterprises, Carbondale; and the municipally owned Marion (Ill.) Hospital have signed a letter of intent to form the Southern Illinois Healthcare Partnership.
"We're positioning ourselves to be responsive to what's coming from Washington as well as looking at all of our options to better serve our area," said Jack Buckley, chief executive officer of Southern Illinois Healthcare Enterprises, which owns 150-bed Memorial Hospital in Carbondale and 98-bed Herrin (Ill.) Hospital.
The not-for-profit companies cited healthcare reform and declining state Medicaid payments to hospitals as the reasons behind the network formation. Executives said the potential for the network is limitless, and future mergers haven't been ruled out.
The network will be able to tap into a population base of more than 200,000 people from Illinois' Williamson, Jackson, Randolph and Monroe counties.
ASC accounts for the two other hospitals, 65-bed St. Clement Hospital in Red Bud and 61-bed St. Joseph Memorial Hospital in Murphysboro. Shawnee Health Service Development Corp. owns several southern Illinois clinics, health centers and elderly services.
The corporations hired a Chicago-based consultant, Tiber Group, which will help complete formation of the network by July 1.