UPDATED: Healthcare CEOs talk hopes for merger - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

UPDATED: Healthcare CEOs talk hopes for merger

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -

After unsuccessfully merging with another local hospital in 2012, Rockford Health System takes another go at finding a partner.

Collaboration, not competition. That's why the deal is being made between Rockford Health System and Cadence Health. RHS CEO Gary Kaatz says in the face of changing healthcare, providers need to become larger.

"Given the direction of healthcare, I think this is the first time we've seen a new business model emerge," said Kaatz.

According to Kaatz, the health system's business model for health care hasn't changed in 50 or 60 years. Now is the time to adapt to the a changing healthcare environment.

"Less costs, better outcomes, new alternatives, innovative thinking," he said.

Kaatz says Cadence Health matches those qualities. Cadence President and CEO Mike Vivoda echos Kaatz.

He says, now is the time for this move.

"It was greatly influenced by the Affordable Care Act and despite that, I think every healthcare provider is looking for ways to improve the way care is delivered and reduce costs which is the tenant of the Affordable Care Act but clearly it was an influence," said Vivoda.

Kaatz says the partnership would also strengthen the network of physicians used by the two systems.

"Be a larger platform for us to recruit sub-specialties too that we wouldn't have been able to otherwise," said Kaatz.

Cadence is in DuPage County. The large system is already the product of a 2011 merger. RHS reaches as far west as Iowa, south to the I-88 corridor and north into Wisconsin.

"We're separated by 70 or 75 miles clearly but the, the epicenter of healthcare delivery is no longer just the hospital," said Vivoda.

Vivoda says between the two, 40 separate locations will create convenient care for patients.

Of course the merger is subject to review and approval. In 2012, after unsuccessfully attempting a merger, Rockford Health System and OSF backed off the efforts.

This go round, CEOs don't see any legal problems arising. Cadence Health currently serves more than one million patients.

PREVIOUS: Patients could soon get care in over 40 locations thanks to the combination of Rockford Health Systems and Cadence Health.

The partnership would form an enhanced system to provide care at places like Central DuPage Hospital, Delnor Hospital, Rockford Memorial, and Van Matre HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital. 

The two systems hope to increase clinical capabilities, improve efficiencies in care delivery, and form an inclusive government structure that would respond to the needs of every region covered by the system.

RHS and Cadence plan to work together in the coming months to further define the partnership, which is still subject to regulatory review and approval.

RHS serves nearly 1 million patients in northwestern Illinois and southern Wisconsin each year while Cadence serves over 1.1 million patients in the western suburbs of Chicago.

WREX's Matt Groves will have more on the story on 13 News at 5 and 6.

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