Three Illinois palliative and end-of-life care providers plan to merge to create the largest not-for-profit hospice provider, by patient volume, in the state.
Chicago-based Horizon Hospice & Palliative Care, Barrington-based JourneyCare and Glenview-based Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter have agreed to operate as a single entity. The new organization will employ over 800 healthcare professionals and care for about 2,500 patients a day in Chicago and 10 surrounding counties.
Sarah Bealles, president and CEO of JourneyCare, will lead the combined organization. The deal is expected to close June 1, pending regulatory approval.
Post-acute providers have engaged in an increasing number of deals recently as insurers have pressured them with reimbursement cuts. Smaller providers in particular are finding it harder to go it alone.
Bealles said the consolidation of health systems also puts significant pressure on hospice providers, who depend on them for referrals. A merged organization can cover a stronger geographic footprint and better manage care for a population, she said.
“In the Chicago market alone there are more than 50 hospice providers,” Bealles said. “You don't have very many health systems and they're all narrowing their networks, so I don't think there is room for as many providers in the long term.”
Mary Runge, CEO of Horizon, and Jamie O'Malley, CEO of Midwest, will retain roles in the new company to assist with the transition for roughly three to six months after closing, the three said in a joint release.
The new organization will be able to take advantage of the hospices' combined 40 acute-care hospital affiliations and a number of post-acute partnerships, according to the release. All employees will be transitioned into roles with the new company.
A branding consultant has been hired to develop a name and identity for the new organization, Bealles said in an interview. The new brand is expected to be defined by fall.
Six members from each company's board will compose an 18-person board for the new organization. Four additional independent voting members also may be chosen from outside of the three companies within a year of closing, according to the release.