Photo by Joe Boyle
John Hanlon MD, the CEO of Little Company of Mary Hospital, informs the Evergreen Park Village Board on Oct. 7 that a contract has been signed to merge with OSF HealthCare, based in Peoria.
By Joe Boyle
A contract was signed on Oct. 7 for Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park to merge with OSF HealthCare.
John Hanlon, MD, MMM, president and CEO of Little Company of Mary Hospital, 2800 W. 95th St., informed the Evergreen Park Village Board on the night of Oct. 7 that an agreement has been reached.
The boards of OSF HealthCare and Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Center have adopted a definitive agreement and decided on a new name: OSF HealthCare Little Company of Mary Medical Center.
“A focused discernment went into the decision to rename our facility,” said Sister Sharon Ann Walsh, LCM, chairperson of the board of directors. “As our two congregations came together and discussed ways to reflect our new partnership, it was important to both communities that we found a name that would preserve our strong heritage.”
“We admire the longstanding commitment to the gift of life demonstrated by Little Company of Mary,” said Sister Judith Ann Duvall, OSF, major superior and chairperson of the board of directors. “As colleagues in this sacred calling of health care ministry, we are honored to carry on the Little Company name and tradition as they join our OSF family.”
The merger is anticipated to officially take place on Feb. 1, 2020. Over the next few months, the two organizations will seek the necessary regulatory and canonical approvals while continuing work on the planning of strategies to meet the needs of the communities in the southwest Chicago area, according to a statement released on Oct. 9.
The news comes as Little Company broke ground this summer for expansion of the emergency room department. Hanlon, who has been the CEO at Little Company for over a year, said the emergency department was in need of more improvements to serve the expanding number of patients.
"Just look at the change in healthcare in the last two weeks," Hanlon said. "MetroSouth (in Blue Island) closed about two weeks ago. They were supposed to close at the end of the month but closed sooner that they thought. They served about 45,000 patients and Little Company serves about 45,000. So, there is a real need."
Hanlon informed the board that Little Company will take in some of those patients that would have gone to MetroSouth. Other facilities that will take on more emergency patients will include Ingalls Hospital in Harvey and Roseland Hospital in Chicago.
"Our emergency room has been very crowded," Hanlon said. "It's going to take two years for a rebuild."
Hanlon said he is encouraged because of the commitment of the staff, 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 is confident that Little Company is going in the right direction.
"The line of communication (with Little Company) has never been better," the mayor said.
Negotiations with Little Company and OSF HealthCare began this summer. Hanlon was confident that an agreement could be reached. Last year, 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.
OSF HealthCare is an integrated health system owned and operated by The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, which is based out of Peoria. OSF Healthcare employs nearly 21,000 employees in 126 locations. If Little Company is added as expected, they could have 14 hospitals.
OSF has two colleges of nursing. Its physician network employs more than 1,200 primary care, specialist physicians, and practice providers. Little Company and Health Care Centers is comprised of 12 facilities, including a 252-bed acute care hospital with a total of 2,100 employees serving Chicago and the southwest suburbs.
Hanlon added that due to the closing of MetroSouth and the increase of emergency patients, he told the board that residents need to be patient.
"We could have as many as 30 more patients more a month," Hanlon said after the closing of MetroSouth. "It sometimes goes up and down. But we just ask people to be patient. We are working very hard. They are very busy right now and are cramped for space."
Evergreen Park Trustee Mark Marzullo asked what the new emergency department will mean for Little Company?
"It will be 40 percent larger," Hanlon said. "It will make a great difference."