Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS -

AR­LING­TON HEIGHTS, Ill.— The value of As­cen­sion Health’s deal to ac­quire the three-hos­pi­tal Alex­ian Broth­ers Health Sys­tem based in Ar­ling­ton Heights could add up to about $645 mil­lion, in­clud­ing as­sumed debt, ac­cord­ing to ma­te­ri­als sub­mit­ted to the Illi­nois Health Fa­cil­i­ties and Ser­vices Re­view Board. As­cen­sion and Alex­ian reached a de­fin­i­tive agree­ment in Septem­ber, but did not dis­close fi­nan­cial de­tails. The agree­ment calls for As­cen­sion to com­mit up to $125 mil­lion for a chil­dren’s and women’s wing un­der con­struc­tion at Alex­ian’s cam­pus in Hoff­man Es­tates, Ill. That project, so far es­ti­mated at $117 mil­lion, is ex­pected to be com­plete in 2013. As­cen­sion also would fund up to $30 mil­lion to­ward an Alex­ian long-term­care project in Ten­nessee. An au­dit pro­vided to the state board showed Alex­ian car­ry­ing nearly $490 mil­lion in long-term debt in 2010. Hos­pi­tal of­fi­cials have re­quested a Dec. 6 hear­ing be­fore the board and ex­pect to close the deal Jan. 1. As­cen­sion prom­ises in the agree­ment to own the Alex­ian fa­cil­i­ties for at least three years. They in­clude the flag­ship 365-bed Alex­ian Broth­ers Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Elk Grove, Ill., plus 255-bed St. Alex­ius Med­i­cal Cen­ter and neigh­bor­ing 141-bed Alex­ian Broth­ers Be­hav­ioral Cen­ter, both in Hoff­man Es­tates. The sys­tems sub­mit­ted a let­ter of sup­port from Chicago Arch­bishop Car­di­nal Fran­cis Ge­orge, who wrote that “Catholic health­care ser­vices will be strength­ened and pre­served” by As­cen­sion’s over­sight. As­cen­sion pre­vi­ously had one Illi­nois fa­cil­ity, 151bed St. An­thony Hos­pi­tal in Chicago, which be­came independent in 2009. CLEVE­LAND— Dur­ing the next few weeks, MetroHealth Sys­tem in Cleve­land could elim­i­nate up to 450 jobs to fill a $30 mil­lion bud­get hole. “Ev­ery­body is get­ting their bud­gets done and fig­ur­ing out what they’re go­ing to do,” MetroHealth spokes­woman Phyl­lis Marino said. “This next month would be when the sys­tem be­gins no­ti­fy­ing em­ploy­ees of their job sta­tus. Marino said it’s too early in the process to say how many po­si­tions or which ones would be elim­i­nated or which de­part­ments would be af­fected the most. Com­pared to 2010, Marino said MetroHealth has seen an 8% spike in unin­sured pa­tient vis­its, putting them on pace to have 217,000 cases in 2011. Ad­min­is­tra­tors made the de­ci­sion to elim­i­nate jobs two weeks ago, Marino said. It’s un­clear how much money MetroHealth would save by the lay­offs, mean­ing there could be additional cost re­duc­tions to make up for the $30 mil­lion gap, she added. The sys­tem em­ploys 6,500 and the max­i­mum 450 jobs MetroHealth could cut would rep­re­sent 7.4% of the work­force. Last month, MetroHealth of­fi­cials said the sys­tem would suf­fer a $6.3 mil­lion op­er­at­ing loss this year and needed a short-term plan that in­cluded a hir­ing freeze, which would keep staffing at lev­els seen in 2009.

As­cen­sion may com­mit up to $125 mil­lion for a chil­dren’s and women’s wing un­der con­struc­tion in Hoff­man Es­tates, left.

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