One of the Milwaukee area's last independent hospitals, West Allis (Wis.) Memorial, announced it's discussing an affiliation with Aurora Health Care.
The hospital notified its 1,700 employees and more than 600 physicians of the discussions on June 21.
The 236-bed hospital serves Milwaukee's west side and 13 south and southwest suburban communities. It is owned by the city of West Allis and leased by a private not-for-profit corporation-which would not change under an affiliation, spokeswoman Mary Mooney said.
The Milwaukee-based, not-for-profit Aurora system includes one psychiatric and six acute-care hospitals, two home-care agencies, two nursing homes and 50 clinics in eastern Wisconsin.
A partnership could help West Allis Memorial obtain contracts with managed-care companies and employers, said Diane De La Santos, Aurora's vice president of public affairs.
West Allis Memorial is just a few miles from Aurora's largest hospital, 711-bed St. Luke's Medical Center in Milwaukee. The two share some of the same medical staff. Still, West Allis Memorial is distant enough to strengthen Aurora's presence on the west side, Ms. De La Santos said. That would make the network convenient for more people.
"Our psychiatric hospital is on the western side of Milwaukee, but (most of) our acute-care hospitals are farther east," she said.
West Allis Memorial administrators met with all three of the area's healthcare systems-Aurora, Covenant Healthcare System and Horizon Healthcare-before deciding to pursue talks with Aurora, Ms. Mooney said. If an agreement isn't reached with Aurora, West Allis Memorial could approach the other companies again, she said.