America's largest Catholic health provider, Ascension Health, finalized its return to the Chicago area market by completing its acquisition of three-hospital Alexian Brothers Health System, Arlington Heights, Ill.
Ascension finalizes acquisition of Alexian
"We are excited about bringing Alexian Brothers' tradition of quality care and expertise in areas like senior services into Ascension Health," Ascension President and CEO Anthony Tersigni said in a news release. "Our ministries have complementary areas of expertise and share a commitment to Catholic healthcare and the mission of serving all with special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable."
Alexian will officially be part of Ascension on Jan. 1. Alexian's board searched for a partner before starting talks with Ascension more than two years ago, "recognizing the challenges facing hospitals around the country and the imminent demands of healthcare reform," the Illinois system said in the news release.
The parties announced the deal in April and signed a definitive agreement in September. The deal calls for Ascension to commit as much as $645 million to Alexian, including assumption of debt and contributions to capital projects under way. The transaction includes three hospitals in Chicago's northwest suburbs: 356-bed Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove, Ill., 255-bed St. Alexius Medical Center and its neighboring 141-bed Alexian Brothers Behavioral Center in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
Ascension officials said they have no plans to change the number of beds at the hospitals, and expected a seamless transition for patients. However, leadership changes have begun. The system, this month, promoted Mark Frey as president and chief executive officer from executive vice president. Frey is the first layperson in that role, taking over for Brother Thomas Keusenkothen.
"Ascension Health has a long tradition of caring for those who are poor and vulnerable, just as we do," Frey said in the release. "Our relationship with Ascension Health will allow us to continue our ability to provide quality healthcare and housing services across Chicago and at our other ministry locations in Missouri, Tennessee and Wisconsin."
The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board approved the acquisition earlier this month. Documents submitted to the board revealed that Ascension would assume $490 million of Alexian's long-term debt, and commit up to $125 million to a children's and women's wing at St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, Ill., scheduled for completion in 2013, as well as up to $30 million toward an Alexian long-term-care project in Tennessee.
The last time Ascension held a presence in the market was in 2009, before it shed St. Anthony Hospital in Chicago. The completion of the system's Alexian deal comes as another national Catholic provider is gaining a presence in the Chicago market. Novi, Mich.-based Trinity Health, which in 2011 acquired Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Ill., now plans to acquire Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago. Documents newly filed with the planning board indicate Trinity would commit at least $140 million over five years toward supporting the operations and facilities of the 292-bed hospital.
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