NorthShore To Acquire Northwest Community Healthcare

·3 min read

EVANSTON, IL — NorthShore University HealthSystem is set to add a sixth hospital by next year. The Evanston-based health care system announced plans to acquire Arlington Heights-based Northwest Community Healthcare, which will keep its brand and network of doctors in place once the deal is done.

The chiefs of the two health care providers said Wednesday an agreement to combine the two health care systems has been finalized pending regulatory approval. The terms of the "strategic partnership" were not disclosed, but the merger follows an 18-month assessment by the Northwest Community board to identify its priorities, according to the announcement.

Founded in 1959, Northwest Community has 4,000 employees and 1,200 physicians on staff at more than 40 northwest suburban locations.

NorthShore employs 10,500 people at more than 150 locations, including Evanston, Glenbrook, Highland Park, Skokie and Swedish hospitals.

"By bringing together two very prominent and community-minded healthcare institutions, we have a tremendous opportunity to transform the practice and delivery of medicine for the future," NorthShore CEO J.P. Gallagher said in a statement. "This partnership extends our commitment to our communities to provide the most accessible healthcare, services and resources available."

The merger will allow Northwest Community to maintain its flagship hospital in Arlington Heights as well as its existing suburban offices and network of doctors, according to the announcement.

Steve Scogna, who will remain CEO of Northwest Community after the merger, said in a statement that NorthShore was one of the country's preeminent systems for care, research and innovation.

"Our shared emphasis on community-focused care coupled with a commitment to strengthening physician relationships were two of the discerning factors in deciding to pursue this opportunity," Scogna said.

The disclosure of the deal, which awaits formal approval from both companies' boards, comes just over a year after NorthShore announced an agreement to buy Swedish Hospital in Chicago, formerly known as Swedish Covenant Hospital.

Related:
NorthShore Reveals Agreement To Acquire Swedish Covenant
Hospital CEO Recovers After Testing Positive For Coronavirus
NorthShore-Advocate Merger Scrapped After Ruling

NCH Northwest Community Hospital at 800 W. Central Road in Arlington Heights will become part of NorthShore University Healthsystem in 2021 if their merger agreement is approved by the Federal Trade Commission and Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board. (Google Maps)
NCH Northwest Community Hospital at 800 W. Central Road in Arlington Heights will become part of NorthShore University Healthsystem in 2021 if their merger agreement is approved by the Federal Trade Commission and Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board. (Google Maps)

Discussions of a merger between Evanston, Highland Park and Northwest Community hospitals date back to 1996, but they broke down the following year due to "personality conflicts and a lack of interest on the part of Northwest Community," the Daily Herald reported in 2013. Oak Brook-based Advocate Health Care was rumored to be looking to acquire the Arlington Heights hospital at the time.

Scogna, who has headed up Northwest Community since 2013, told the Daily Herald Wednesday the merger does not have anything to do with the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Scogna said he and Gallagher had been informally discussing a possible merger with NorthShore for the past couple of years.

Measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 have deprived hospital groups of their normal revenue streams and added unexpected new costs, like acquiring large amounts of protective equipment, that can make it more difficult for independent hospitals to operate.

While Gallagher said NorthShore plans to make an unspecified but "significant" investment into Northwest Community's hospital and clinics, Scogna said both CEOs are also looking for places to cut costs after combining, according to Crain's Chicago Business, which noted both systems have imposed pay cuts on some workers since the start of the pandemic.

This article originally appeared on the Evanston Patch

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