A new name and a novel approach to healthcare system leadership in Chicago began last week with the completion of the merger of EHS Healthcare and Lutheran General HealthSystem.
With $1.6 billion in assets and projected 1995 revenues of $1.4 billion, Advocate Health Care made its debut. Richard Risk, former president and chief executive officer of Oak Brook, Ill.-based EHS, and Stephen Ummel, former president and CEO of Park Ridge, Ill.-based Lutheran General were named "co-CEOs" of the new system.
"We've got a very team-oriented healthcare system here, and it will be no different at the top," Ummel said.
The executives will share most duties, but Risk will emphasize operations and Ummel will focus on governance issues. Of the half-dozen networks under development in Chicago, Advocate is the only one with co-CEOs.
While the co-CEO leadership model has had a history of failures in healthcare, Risk and Ummel said it is a growing trend.
The merger is projected to reduce costs by nearly $80 million, although specifics haven't been disclosed.
The executives expect no job cuts in clinical staffing, but management positions are likely to be eliminated and other staff reductions will be made through attrition. The system has a work force of more than 20,000.
The merger will allow Advocate to move faster than its competing Chicago networks, executives said. Initially, they expect to extend the network east into northwest Indiana and north to Rockford, Ill.