Advocate Children's Hospital and NorthShore University HealthSystem are partnering to expand pediatric care throughout the area.
The partnership will include more than 600 pediatricians, pediatric subspecialists and maternal fetal medicine physicians, as well as hospital and ambulatory programs and services. Advocate has pediatric hospitals on two campuses, one in Oak Lawn and another in Park Ridge. Over the next several months, the organizations will begin transition and integration processes. The new system will launch in July.
"This is about providing exceptional pediatric care for the children in our communities," said Mike Farrell, president of Advocate Children's Hospital. "By linking together such high-caliber physicians, committed to excellence in safety, quality and service, we will no doubt make it easier to access comprehensive medical care."
The joint operating agreement calls for shared governance and financials, led by Farrell, and co-chief medical officers, Dr. Frank Belmonte, of Advocate Children's Hospital, and Dr. Michael Caplan of NorthShore. The discussion between the two health systems started about eight months ago, Caplan said Wednesday.
"This is a transformative partnership between two highly respected health-care institutions," said Caplan, chairman of pediatrics, chief scientific officer and researcher in advanced neonatal care. "It will enable us to capitalize on shared physician expertise and combine pediatric specialties to generate significant cost efficiencies and advance innovation to elevate quality care." He added that patients will find easier access to specialists that are closer to their homes with the larger system.
Both health systems will maintain their academic affiliations with the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.
The partnership comes about a year after Downers Grove-based Advocate and Northshore, based in Evanston, announced plans to end a proposed merger following a federal judge's ruling.
The Federal Trade Commission argued consumers could face possible rising health-care costs, while the system would have less incentive to upgrade services and improve quality.
The merger would have created an organization comprised of 16 hospitals with about 45,000 employees serving more than 3 million patients annually, making it the 11th largest not-for-profit health-care system in the United States.
Advocate then merged with Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee instead.
The new network was not formed as a result of the failed merger, Belmonte said. "We found synergy in the work we were doing in the area of pediatrics," he said.