John Hanlon, M.D., president of OSF HealthCare Little Company of Mary Medical Center, is set to retire after nearly four decades of service at the Evergreen Park hospital.
By Joe Boyle
John Hanlon, M.D., president of OSF HealthCare Little Company of Mary Medical Center in Evergreen Park, has announced he is retiring after 33 years of service to the hospital.
Hanlon started serving at OSF Little Company of Mary in 1987, practicing as an ophthalmologist for 30 years. He served in various leadership roles over the past 20 years while still maintaining his ophthalmology practice. Hanlon became president of the medical staff in 2000 and went on to serve as the chief executive officer in August 2018 following a term as the chief medical officer.
He has overseen vast changes at Little Company, 2800 W. 95th St., during his tenure as president. This included the merger with OSF Healthcare, an integrated health system owned and operated by The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, headquartered in Peoria. OSF HealthCare employs nearly 21,000 employees in 126 locations. With the addition of Little Company, OSF Healthcare now runs 14 hospitals.
Negotiations with Little Company and OSF HealthCare began last summer. Hanlon was confident then that an agreement could be reached. Two years ago, Little Company had planned a merger with the Rush University System for Health. However, negotiations were terminated. The reason for the failed merger was never given.
"What's different this time is the cultural fit with OSF," Hanlon said.
A contract was signed on Oct. 7 for Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park to merge with OSF HealthCare. The contract was officially signed on Feb. 1.
The news comes as Little Company broke ground last summer for expansion of the emergency room department. Hanlon said the emergency department was in need of more improvements to serve the expanding number of patients, especially when MetroSouth in Blue Island closed last fall.
"Our emergency room has been very crowded," Hanlon said. "It's going to take two years for a rebuild."
Hanlon said he was encouraged because of the commitment of the staff at OSF Little Company, who he said are working very hard.
The expansion and renovation of the emergency department will be a benefit to the community, Hanlon said.
"Our merger with OSF HealthCare will help," Hanlon said. "They provide high quality care."
Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton said he was confident that Little Company is going in the right direction despite the economic difficulties that the coronavirus has caused.
"The line of communication (with Little Company) has never been better," the mayor said.
Sexton said that the merger with Little Company and OSF HealthCare was beneficial because nurses from central Illinois volunteered to assist at the Evergreen Park facility when cases of COVID-19 began to escalate. The nurses all work for OSF Healthcare and they wanted to help, just less than a month when the agreement to merge with Little Company became official.
"It is just amazing how this all came together," Sexton said. "What a really great job they have done over here. I can't say it enough. They have really stepped up."
Hanlon admitted to the mayor that the amount of patients has increased since the emergence of COVID-19 and the staff is tired. However, Hanlon pointed out that they will get through this.
Hanlon grew up one mile from the hospital. Hanlon said he knows the Southwest Side and Evergreen Park well, which is what initially drew him to working at OSF Little Company of Mary. Over time, Hanlon said he learned how personally rewarding it can be to help the members of his community. He is the first member of his family to work in medicine.
“ When I accepted the position as president in 2018, I wanted to serve long enough to see positive changes, to see quality improvement and growth, and to see us through a merger with the right system,” Hanlon said. “I am grateful that we have found a partner in OSF HealthCare who will help us sustain those improvements and build on them and will preserve Catholic healthcare on the Southwest Side. I am confident that the executive team in place here at OSF Little Company of Mary will continue to lead us to excellence.”
OSF HealthCare officials said they will announce details about the transition to a new leader for OSF Little Company of Mary at a later date.