The parent organizations of two northern Indiana hospitals plan to merge under a new company, citing the need to provide a greater level of integrated delivery under the national healthcare reform law.
Reform law spurs merger plans in Indiana
Officials with Elkhart (Ind.) General Healthcare System and Memorial Health System, South Bend, said they have entered a memorandum of understanding expected to lead to a binding agreement and a done deal by the end of the year.
The new company would be governed by a board created with an equal number of board members from each party, and each hospital would retain its board. For the first two years, the chairman of Elkhart General's board would serve as chairman of the new system. Memorial Health President and CEO Phil Newbold would be president and CEO at the new system.
In an interview, Newbold pointed out that the hospitals previously jointly owned an HMO and currently operate a laundry service together, and about 140 members of their medical staffs overlap.
Elkhart General is principally 297-bed Elkhart Memorial Hospital. Memorial Health includes 325-bed Memorial Hospital of South Bend, as well as Memorial Medical Group, Memorial Home Care and Memorial MedFlight.
“We will be much better equipped with this joining of hands to recruit doctors and afford specialties for both communities we otherwise wouldn't be able to have,” Elkhart General Board Chairman Don Krabill said in an interview.
Newbold said he expects the merged system, not yet named, would acquire additional physician practices and that other hospitals may join. “We're planning on growth,” he said.
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