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Merger of hospitals is called off

  • Written by Dermot Connolly

IMG 4805(slugged, “little company”)

Photo by Dermot Connolly

Little Company of Mary Hospital, 2800 W. 95th St., in Evergreen Park, by mutual agreement, recently terminated plans to merge with Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

A planned merger of the Rush hospital system and Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers based in Evergreen Park was called off last week.

In a brief statement issued jointly by the two hospital systems on April 11, officials said, “Representatives of the Rush system and Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers have mutually agreed to terminate their integration discussions. The two signed a letter of intent in October 2017. Both organizations maintain their mutual respect for each other and will pursue efforts independently to advance care and service to Chicago-area patients and communities.”

A spokesperson for Little Company of Mary Hospital, at 2800 W. 95th St., said the Monday that nothing more is being said about the decision at this time and CEO Dennis Reilly would not be available for interviews. In addition to the 272-bed hospital in Evergreen Park, Little Company also has 11 outpatient facilities, and 2,000 employees in total. The hospital group planned to remain affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church after the deal.

Reilly reportedly said in October that the hospital, which dates back to 1930, has had difficulty attracting and retaining doctors and is facing challenges common to many U.S. hospitals. These include changes in the way health care providers are reimbursed and increased information technology costs.

According to published reports, Rush CEO Dr. Larry Goodman and Rush President Michael Dandorph said in a memo to employees on April 11 that although it was a “difficult decision for both parties” to put an end to the idea of Rush acquiring Little Company of Mary, “we are confident that it is the right one.

“Both organizations maintain their mutual respect for each other and have decided to pursue efforts independently to advance care and service to Chicago-area patients and communities.”

The merger would have expanded the suburban presence of the Rush system, which is headquartered at Rush University Medical Center at 1653 W. Congress Parkway in Chicago. It also includes Rush University, Rush Copley Medical Center and Rush Oak Park Hospital, as well as many outpatient care facilities. Rush University, with more than 2,500 students, is a health sciences university that comprises Rush Medical College, the College of Nursing, the College of Health Sciences and the Graduate College.

As Little Company of Mary and Rush continue their efforts to find the right partner, they are part of a consolidation trend in the healthcare industry that has been going on for some time.

In 2013, financially-struggling Holy Cross Hospital in Chicago became part of Sinai Health System. Then in 2015, Palos Hospital in Palos Heights became affiliated with Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood. In that case, the two hospitals remain independent and did not actually merge. But patients are able to avail of services offered by both hospital systems.

University of Chicago Medicine did merge with Ingalls Health System in 2016. And last October, Loyola also revealed plans to buy MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn