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Advocate, Aurora Health Care to merge, create $11 billion health system

Systems say together they will form the 10th largest nonprofit integrated health system in the country.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

Hospital in Chicago, IL-part of Advocate network. Photo by <a href=""> Advocate Health </a>Hospital in Chicago, IL-part of Advocate network. Photo by Advocate Health

Illinois giant Advocate Health Care and Wisconsin's Aurora Health Care have revealed plans to merge, the systems announced, saying together they will form the 10th largest nonprofit integrated health system in the country.

The new system will be known as Advocate Aurora Health Care and will serve nearly 3 million patients a year. The deal is expected to close by mid-year 2018, pending state and federal regulatory approval.

[Also: Advocate Health Care hospital nutrition programs yield $4.8 million in savings, research shows]

The systems said enhanced scale, greater access and efficiencies and a mutual commitment to "transform the care delivery model" inspired the merger plan, which builds on the 20-year relationship the two health systems have had through the joint ownership and operation of ACL Laboratories.

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The new, merged system will operate 27 hospitals, more than 500 sites of care, and will employ more than 3,300 physicians and roughly 70,000 associates and caregivers. The system's combined annual revenue is expected to total approximately $11 billion, the systems said.

[Also: Aurora Health announces $324 million project to replace aging medical center]

Inherent in the agreement is a plan for current executives. The Board of Directors for the new system will be comprised equally of Advocate and Aurora members. Advocate President and CEO Jim Skogsbergh and Aurora's President and CEO Nick Turkal will serve as co-CEOs of the newly formed system. Aurora Board Chair Joanne Disch will chair the Advocate Aurora Health Board of Directors during its first year of operation. Advocate Board Chair Michele Richardson will take the lead for the second year. Each system will maintain its current headquarters.

Both the Advocate and Aurora Boards of Directors have approved the plan. It was relayed to physicians, nurses, associates and caregivers in both organizations Monday.

"This merger is about transforming care delivery and reimagining the possibilities of health as bigger meets better and size meets value to benefit consumers," Skogsbergh said. "By joining forces we will be able to expand our network to scale innovation and create a destination in the Midwest for patients and the talented clinicians who care for them."

"For the communities in Illinois and Wisconsin that we serve and for our two organizations, this is an unprecedented opportunity to shape our future and better serve patients," said Nick Turkal, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Aurora. "We are fortunate that our organizations are coming together from unique and complementary positions of strength, particularly at a time of evolving industry dynamics. Working together, we will deliver on the promise of value for the people who receive, provide and pay for health care."

Twitter: @BethJSanborn
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