CHICAGO -- Two Chicago hospitals have decided to affiliate to improve delivery of healthcare services to the city's growing Hispanic population.
Illinois Masonic Medical Center and Norwegian-American Hospital will collaborate to increase specialty care in medically underserved Hispanic areas while enhancing a managed-care plan owned by Illinois Masonic. The deal isn't a merger and doesn't involve capital commitments.
A joint committee with three representatives from each hospital will coordinate the affiliation. Both hospitals will retain financial autonomy and governance structures.
"It's often difficult to get specialists to come into communities," said Clarence Nagelvoort, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian-American.
As part of the arrangement, doctors will be encouraged to join the medical staff of both hospitals. Norwegian-American will benefit from tertiary services at Illinois Masonic, while Illinois Masonic will take advantage of Norwegian-American's strong ties to the Hispanic community. About 60% of Norwegian-American's 265 physicians are Hispanic.
Founded by Chicago's Norwegian-American community in 1894, about 80% of Norwegian-American's patients are now Hispanic. Norwegian Americans still are actively involved in support and governance of the hospital, which has annual admissions of nearly 13,000.
Illinois Masonic will become the primary site for specialized services -- such as invasive cardiology -- that are unavailable at Norwe-gian-American. Norwegian-American also joined Illinois Masonic's Hispanocare managed-care plan, which offers a 20% discount to its 40,000 enrollees on out-of-pocket medical expenses when they receive treatment from its providers.
Of Illinois Masonic's 21,000 annual inpatient admissions, nearly half are Hispanic.
"Patients will now have continuity of care between two institutions," said Bruce Campbell, president and CEO of Illinois Masonic.
Illinois Masonic already has an affiliation agreement with Chicago-based Rush System for Health, but Rush isn't involved in the Norwegian-American deal, executives said.