Friday, May 14, 2010

The Foxes and the Henhouse

I think the foxes are watching the henhouse again.

OSF HealthCare in Peoria is entering a formal discussion with Rockford Health Systems. The idea is to see if OSF Saint Anthony's in Rockford would combine with Rockford Memorial. This would expand OSF's business interests in northern Illinois.

But this move would probably cause OSF to create more scandal in the Catholic world of health care. Will women's "reproductive rights" such as abortion, sterilization, and oral contraceptives be allowed if the two hospitals in Rockford combine?

In the meantime, Catholics in the Peoria and Rockford Dioceses sit on their hands as the hospital's business leaders make the decisons. And where are the Bishops of the Peoria and Rockford Dioceses? Where are the OSF Sisters of the Third Order? When are we going to hear from them?

OSF HealthCare may acquire Rockford Health System

GateHouse News Service

Last update May 13, 2010 @ 05:53 PM

ROCKFORD — Peoria-based OSF HealthCare System wants to acquire Rockford Health System, and officials from the two facilities will spend the next several months researching the deal, according to reports in the Rockford Register Star and Rockford television station WREX-13.

The move would bring together the region’s two oldest hospitals — Rockford Memorial and OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center — and expand OSF’s services in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Officials signed a nonbinding letter of intent this week and cited federal health care reform as one reason for the potential deal. A combined operation would reduce costs and provide more efficiency.

Representatives from the health systems declined today to comment on the deal.

Jim Farrell, senior vice president of communications and marketing for OSF HealthCare System, told the Journal Star that a news conference in scheduled Friday morning in Rockford to discuss the plans.

This would be the sixth attempt at a hospital merger locally in the last 23 years. Rockford Health System went through a similar process starting in 2008 when it announced a potential merger with Oak Brook-based Advocate Health Care, but that deal fell through about four months later.

OSF HealthCare, which is based in Peoria, has seven acute-care facilities in Illinois and Michigan. It also has a long-term care facility and two nursing colleges.

Rockford Health System is comprised of Rockford Memorial Hospital, Rockford Health Physicians, Van Matre HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital, Visiting Nurses Association and the Rockford Memorial Development Foundation.

John Chadwick, general manager of WREX-13, is a member of Rockford Health System’s board of directors. He did not inform the Register Star about the potential acquisition.

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