Northwestern Memorial, Cadence agree on merger

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Northwestern Memorial HealthCare (NMHC) and Winfield-based Cadence Health have reached an agreement to combine the two health systems, in what could be one of the largest in the Chicago area, officials said today.

The merger, which would bring in a combined revenue of nearly $3 billion a year, needs to be approved by the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, which regulates the health industry, and federal regulators.  Spokespeople for the two health systems said a merger could be completed by fall, if it’s approved.

The move would merge 60 sites of care across Chicago and the suburbs, including four hospitals, and more than 4,000 physicians and 17,600 employees under the Northwestern Medicine name, the health systems said in their announcement.

Northwestern Memorial HealthCare is the parent of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Streeterville, Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital of Lake Forest, Ill. and the Northwestern Medical Group.  Cadence Health was formed in 2011 following a merger with Central DuPage Hospital of Winfield and Delnor Hospital of Geneva.

Cadence said merging with Northwestern would enhance patient’s care in Chicago’s western suburbs.

In a statement, Northwestern Memorial HealthCare President and CEO Dean M. Harrison, meanwhile, said, “together, we are better-positioned to provide care that is safer, more effective and better coordinated, that utilizes the latest breakthrough treatments, and is accessible closer to where our patients live and work.”

The proposed merger of Northwestern and Cadence is one of many consolidations that have been announced in the Chicago-area since the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010.  Parts of the law encourage consolidation in the health care industry to coordinate patient care and reduce health care costs, including waste.

A spokesman for Cadence said there are no plans to layoff employees with the merger.

“We believe that we will need more talent in the future, not less,” Cadence spokesman Christopher King said.

Northwestern Memorial and Cadence Health had announced in March they were in negotiations to merge.

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