ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill.—The value of Ascension Health's deal to acquire the three-hospital Alexian Brothers Health System based in Arlington Heights could add up to about $645 million, including assumed debt, according to materials submitted to the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board. Ascension and Alexian reached a definitive agreement in September, but did not disclose financial details. The agreement calls for Ascension to commit up to $125 million for a children's and women's wing under construction at Alexian's campus in Hoffman Estates, Ill. That project, so far estimated at $117 million, is expected to be complete in 2013.
Regional News/Midwest: Ascension Health completes deal for Alexian Brothers Health System, and other news
Ascension also would fund up to $30 million toward an Alexian long-term-care project in Tennessee. An audit provided to the state board showed Alexian carrying nearly $490 million in long-term debt in 2010. Hospital officials have requested a Dec. 6 hearing before the board and expect to close the deal Jan. 1. Ascension promises in the agreement to own the Alexian facilities for at least three years. They include the flagship 365-bed Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove, Ill., plus 255-bed St. Alexius Medical Center and neighboring 141-bed Alexian Brothers Behavioral Center, both in Hoffman Estates. The systems submitted a letter of support from Chicago Archbishop Cardinal Francis George, who wrote that “Catholic healthcare services will be strengthened and preserved” by Ascension's oversight. Ascension previously had one Illinois facility, 151-bed St. Anthony Hospital in Chicago, which became independent in 2009.
CLEVELAND—During the next few weeks, MetroHealth System in Cleveland could eliminate up to 450 jobs to fill a $30 million budget hole. “Everybody is getting their budgets done and figuring out what they're going to do,” MetroHealth spokeswoman Phyllis Marino said. “This next month would be when the system begins notifying employees of their job status. Marino said it's too early in the process to say how many positions or which ones would be eliminated or which departments would be affected the most.
Compared to 2010, Marino said MetroHealth has seen an 8% spike in uninsured patient visits, putting them on pace to have 217,000 cases in 2011. Administrators made the decision to eliminate jobs two weeks ago, Marino said. It's unclear how much money MetroHealth would save by the layoffs, meaning there could be additional cost reductions to make up for the $30 million gap, she added. The system employs 6,500 and the maximum 450 jobs MetroHealth could cut would represent 7.4% of the workforce. Last month, MetroHealth officials said the system would suffer a $6.3 million operating loss this year and needed a short-term plan that included a hiring freeze, which would keep staffing at levels seen in 2009.
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