NORMAL — Central Illinois Advocate Health Care patients should benefit from the upcoming merger of Advocate with Aurora Health Care, the president of Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal and Advocate Eureka Hospital in Eureka said Thursday.
"Our patients will continue to receive the same great care close to home," Colleen Kannaday said. "Their physicians won't change. But now we have a much bigger platform to scale innovation to benefit patients and our communities through lower costs, a better consumer experience and improved outcomes."
Downers Grove-based Advocate and Milwaukee-based Aurora announced Thursday that their proposed merger had cleared the regulatory review process, creating Advocate Aurora Health.
The merger is expected to take effect April 1, creating the 10th largest not-for-profit health care system in the country.
The Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance approved the proposal on Thursday, following successful review by the Federal Trade Commission and approval by the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board in February.
Advocate Health Care includes Advocate BroMenn, Advocate Eureka, Advocate BroMenn Outpatient Center and Advocate BroMenn Health & Fitness Center in Bloomington and Advocate Medical Group offices throughout Central Illinois.
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"We're thrilled," Kannaday said. "While both systems are independently strong, we are going to be even stronger together."
"Perhaps what's most important is that while we'll be nationally recognized and regionally scoped, we are still going to be locally present," she said. "That means our patients will still have access to great care close to home while benefiting from being a part of a larger system."
With more than 70,000 employees and volunteers, Advocate Aurora Health "will be a talent magnet" for associates, physicians and nurses, Kannaday said.
Kannaday said there are no plans to change any building or monument signs across the system.
A joint statement from Advocate and Aurora said "With combined annual revenues of approximately $11 billion, the new organization offers significant resources and the financial flexibility to expand investment."
Advocate Aurora Health will operate more than 500 health care sites, including 27 hospitals, serving 3 million patients a year.
The agreement calls for a single board of directors including an equal number of members from Advocate and Aurora. The system will maintain dual headquarters in Downers Grove and Milwaukee.
Advocate CEO Jim Skogsbergh and Aurora CEO Dr. Nick Turkal will serve as co-CEOs of Advocate Aurora Health.
"Our merger represents a tremendous opportunity to elevate the strengths of two great organizations to shape a better future for those we serve," Turkal said in a prepared statement.
Follow Paul Swiech on Twitter: @pg_swiech