A new seven-hospital Roman Catholic healthcare network in Chicago is near completion but will start without four other hospitals involved in nearly two years of planning the venture, MODERN HEALTHCARE has learned.
The organization confirmed that Columbus-Cabrini Health System, which includes three Catholic hospitals in Chicago, and St. Joseph Hospital and Health Care Center in Chicago aren't involved in the final stages of development. Those hospitals are completing their merger announced last year (Dec. 12, 1994, p. 6).
"Basically, the network is together," said James Gizzi, network development chairman and president and chief executive officer at St. Francis Hospital, Evanston, Ill. "I would expect a formal announcement in the next few weeks."
With the seven participating hospitals, the network has combined assets of nearly $1.5 billion, rivaling the city's largest system, Northwestern Healthcare Network, the nation's 10th-largest hospital system, according to MODERN HEALTHCARE's 1995 Multi-unit Providers Survey. The Catholic network hospitals reported $1.05 billion in combined 1994 net revenues.
Gizzi wouldn't comment on the network's strategic plan, but he said interviews for a chief executive officer to run the system are being conducted. Organizers also are working on a name for the network, which hopes to attract other Catholic and not-for-profit hospitals that would have to be "voted in."
The network will not be a fully merged organization but is coming together to compete for managed-care contracts. It would be similar to several Chicago networks anchored by academic medical centers.
In this case, community Catholic hospitals would feed Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill. Other network hospitals in the final stage of development are St. Francis; St. James Hospital and Health Centers, Chicago Heights; Our Lady of Resurrection Medical Center, Chicago; Resurrection Medical Center, Chicago; St. Bernard Hospital, Chicago; and Saint Mary of Nazareth Hos- pital Center, Chicago.
"We've got some holes in our market coverage, and we know that, but we're on target and expect to add plenty of partners," Gizzi said. "I see this as only the beginning."
Columbus and St. Joseph's may join after their merger is completed later this summer, sources told MODERN HEALTHCARE. Executives at Columbus and St. Joseph's have said they don't want to discuss the network.
The network will hold true to Cardinal Joseph Bernardin's decrees against investor-owned hospital chains. He said Catholic hospitals in the Chicago Archdiocese could lose their Catholic status if they link with for-profits.