Alexian Brothers Health System and Adventist Midwest Health signed a letter of intent to form a joint operating company that would oversee nine Chicago-area hospitals, making the combined network the third-largest in Illinois based on the number of hospitals.
The agreement wouldn't reach the level of full merger because of the different religious identities. The Adventist hospitals will not come under the Catholic Ethical and Religious Directives, an Adventist spokeswoman said.
The joint company would have its own governing board and combine the corporate operations of the smaller systems under one roof. Alexian CEO Mark Frey would stay in the top executive slot, and Adventist CEO David Crane plans to be executive vice president, the two officials said in an interview.
The two systems would maintain separate ownership of assets and separate finances, and the as-yet-unnamed operating company would handle long-term planning and strategy for the systems. It would also be able to issue debt, but only with the approval of Alexian's and Adventist's parent companies: St. Louis-based Ascension Health, which acquired Alexian in 2012, and Orlando, Fla.-based Adventist Health System. —Andrew L. Wang, Crain's Chicago business