“We made great progress since when I came back at the end of 2000,” said Lyne, who's spent two stints at Mercy spanning 25 years. “We were in deep trouble and I couldn't even enumerate at this point how we got out of it. Hard work mostly, I think.”
Trinity CEO and President Joe Swedish gushed with the notion of expanding into the Chicago market. He said the city is historically fragmented in terms of hospital alignment.
Swedish echoed Lyne when mentioning healthcare reform, which he said helped pique interest in the Chicago market for Catholic health systems, motivating officials to be more aggressive. St. Louis-based Ascension Health has a deal in place to acquire three-hospital Alexian Brothers Health System in Arlington Heights, Ill. Mokena, Ill.'s Provena Health and Chicago-based Resurrection Health Care officially merged on Nov. 1. Novi, Mich.-based Trinity earlier this summer acquired 535-bed Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill. Mercy represents Trinity's third hospital in the Chicago area. Swedish said Catholic healthcare in Chicago won't be fading like it has in New York and Boston.
“There are probably quite a few opportunities as we see it,” he said. “No. 1, it established a relationship with a hospital that has a very rich legacy of serving vulnerable populations in Chicago, and that's very consistent and aligned with our mission and ministry.”
However, Swedish would not reveal if there are other pending deals with 49-hospital Trinity in the Chicago area.
“These opportunities evolve over time,” he said. “We're certainly not expecting an overnight sensation here. This is a long journey and we are in Chicago in a very deep-rooted way.”
The two have an existing relationship, as Trinity officials pointed out that it has provided Mercy with group-purchasing opportunities since April 2009. Lyne said it was mere coincidence that she met Swedish at a reception about 2½ years ago.
As for changes, Swedish said Trinity officials are analyzing how it could spend money to help Mercy. Beyond that, Lyne, 75, said her surrounding staff will tell her if it's time to retire. She plans to stay through the transition, but said she couldn't lead Mercy for much longer. Lyne is part of a dwindling number of nuns leading hospitals.
“I'm sure there won't be a sister following me,” she said. “That's just how it happened, all the religious women's communities have decreased.”