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OSF HealthCare and Little Company of Mary Hospital & Health Care Centers expect to merge.

The Catholic hospitals Wednesday said they’re finalizing agreements to combine, as well as seeking regulatory and church approval. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed.

The merger would give Peoria, Ill.-based OSF, a 13-hospital network, a clinical presence in the Chicago area. Little Company of Mary, which has 12 sites of care, including a 298-bed community hospital in south suburban Evergreen Park, would gain deeper pockets, better pricing and advanced technology. The deal marks Little Company’s exit as an independent hospital.

Little Company last year called off plans to merge with Chicago-based Rush University System for Health. At the time, representatives declined to say why the potential union fell apart.

“We have explored other affiliation partners in the past and we explored several affiliation partners this time around, as well,” Little Company CEO Dr. John Hanlon said in a statement. “What’s different this time is the cultural fit with OSF.”

The pair had been in talks for “many months,” Hanlon added. “We are very impressed with their commitment to the Catholic mission of health care and their commitment to innovation in health care—not just the technological aspect, but the delivery of it, as well.”

While the union gives OSF a clinical presence in the Chicago area, the hospital system has been involved in the local market through its relationships with the University of Illinois at Chicago, Matter and Avia.

“While we may be a downstate hospital system, or thought of in that way, we’ve really been in Chicago for a number of years, in and around the innovation space,” OSF CEO Bob Sehring said in the statement.

The merger is expected to take place in early 2020.


Howard Gonzales

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