Network development continues to heat up in Chicago as a major alliance adds its sixth hospital and the city's other networks fill holes in their markets.
The 245-bed Swedish Covenant Hospital has joined Northwestern Healthcare Network during a time of stiff competition between Chicago networks seeking affiliations to shore up their geographic regions.
"We're getting to halfway in the number of hospitals we need, but we want adequate coverage in our market," said Bruce Spivey, M.D., president and chief executive officer of the Northwestern Healthcare Network.
Meanwhile, 415-bed University of Illinois Hospital and Clinics will begin performing heart, lung and heart-lung transplants in a move the academic medical center said would enhance its affiliation with Oak Brook, Ill.-based EHS Health Care. The university's medical school last fall completed an affiliation with 827-bed EHS Christ Hospital and Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill.
"It's certainly a selling point for networking and attracting referrals," Edward Tate, a spokesman for the univer- sity, said of the transplant program.
Mr. Tate said the University of Illinois Hospital and Clinics is working on other affiliations with EHS, which last month agreed to merge with Lu theran General HealthSystem of Park Ridge, Ill. (June 20, p. 17).
"The EHS merger with Lutheran General has a real broad potential because patients can get services at (University of Illinois) that aren't available in the Chicago marketplace," Mr. Tate said.
Such operations were last performed at University of Illinois Hospitals and Clinics in 1989, when some 20 transplants were undertaken a year. The program was deactivated in 1989, university executives said.
Cost issues and potential revenue from the transplant program haven't been determined, the university said.
The Northwestern network is less than a year old and not as experienced as its competitors-the Rush System for Health or the proposed EHS-Lutheran General entity-with managed-care products.
However, executives said they will have several managed-care products on the market by the end of the year.
The other members of the Northwestern Healthcare Network are Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago; Evanston (Ill.) Hospital; Glenbrook Hospital in Glenview, Ill.; and Highland Park (Ill.) Hospital.