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Little Company of Mary joins forces with Rush

  • Written by Joe Boyle

little company photo 10-12

Photo by Joe Boyle

Officials at Little Company of Mary Hospital, 2800 W. 95th St., Evergreen Park, announced that a non-binding letter of intent has been signed to join the Rush hospital system.

 

Representatives from Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park on Oct. 4 announced that a non-binding letter of intent has been signed to join the Rush hospital system.

Under the proposed arrangement, Little Company, along with their Health Care Centers, would remain a Catholic ministry. The Rush hospital system is acquiring Little Company as part of a strategy to develop a presence in the suburbs.

Rush will take on any of Little Company’s liabilities. Little Company of Mary Hospital, 2800 W. 95th St., a 272-bed community facility with more than 2,000 employees, will keep its name. Little Company officials note that they may integrate the Rush name into its title and programs.

No layoffs are imminent, according to Dennis Reilly, president and CEO of Little Company of Mary.

“We will look for opportunities where the integration makes sense going forward,” Reilly said.

Sister Sharon Ann Walsh, LCM, American Province Leader of the Little Company of Mary Sisters and the chairperson of LCM’s board of directors, approved the non-binding letter of intent. The Rush system approved the letter on Sept. 28 and the Archdiocese of Chicago approved it on Sept. 29.

Archdiocesan officials said that the Rush system would be able to maintain Little Company’s commitment to their Catholic health ministry. The proposed integration is subject to further due diligence by both organizations and obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals as they work on a definitive agreement, which they expect to take several months.

“Our sisters have been involved in a long and thoughtful discerning process, and we feel confident that aligning with Rush would allow us to continue to serve our community, as we have for nearly 90 years,” Walsh said. “We have a longstanding bond with our community because of the unwavering commitment of our dedicated physicians, other medical professionals and the devotion of our employees. We look forward to the potential of a stronger future with Rush and the expanded capabilities that we would be able to offer our patients.”

Little Company has been facing a series of challenges that other health institutions have across the country. Changes in how health care providers are reimbursed and the rising costs of technology have created an increasing burden for Little Company.

“We have had trouble attracting and retaining doctors,” Reilly said. “(Our leaders) recognized what was happening in the Chicago market in terms of consolidation, and some of the increasing challenges related to operating a stand-alone hospital in one location.”

Reilly added that future health care reform and health care changes will be made by facilities that can provide high-quality service and accomplish this in multiple locations.

“Little Company of Mary Hospital is a great organization with deep roots in the community and would be a strong partner as Rush continues to expand the system’s reach throughout the Chicago area,” said Michael Dandorph, president of the Rush system and of Rush Medical Center. “This potential partnership is very important to our overall plans to make clinical, research, and educational resources more accessible to our patients and our physician partners.

“We are excited about the opportunity to work with Little Company of Mary Hospital to expand the delivery of the highest quality, comprehensive services that are coordinated, cost-effective, accessible, and responsive to what individuals and employers are expecting from health care providers,” added Dandorph.

Under the current conditions facing health care in this country, Little Company has reached a point where it was becoming unsustainable, according to Reilly.

But Reilly is encouraged by the arrangement with the Rush system that he said will allow Little Company to serve the community.

“Little Company of Mary has chosen a partnership with Rush because it is resourceful, regional integrated health delivery system anchored by one of the leading academic medical centers in the country,” Reilly said. “Rush shares our commitment to quality and vision for healthcare in southwest Chicago. We remain dedicated to providing the personalized care that our community has come to expect from Little Company of Mary Hospital.”