INDIANAPOLIS— Franciscan St. Francis Health entered an exclusive provider agreement with Indiana Internal Medicine Consultants, an Indianapolis practice with about 40 physicians. A St. Francis spokesman said IIMC is “another piece in the puzzle” as its parent works toward being recognized as an accountable care organization. St. Francis is a division of Franciscan Alliance, a Catholic system based in Mishawaka, Ind. Franciscan has not taken an ownership stake in the group under the agreement, which was effective Oct. 1, the spokesman said. No financial terms were disclosed. “Of the integrated health systems or accountable care organizations being formed, we know that St. Francis offers the specific advantages, such as the electronic medical-records system, range of associated specialists and many convenient access points,” IIMC CEO Dr. William Buffie said in a news release. Specialties covered by the IIMC physicians include internal medicine, pulmonology, critical care, rheumatology, family practice, infectious disease and sleep medicine. Robert Brody, president and CEO of 230-bed St. Francis, said in the release that the tighter alignment with IIMC will support integrated care and case management. “The agreement advances a more holistic framework,” Brody said. BOLINGBROOK, Ill.— Illinois officials approved the merger between Provena Health and Resurrection Health Care, paving the way for the creation of the state’s largest Catholic health provider. Officials plan to close the deal Nov. 1. The proposal would combine the six hospitals and 1,361 beds of Mokena’s Provena with the eight hospitals and 2,220 beds of Resurrection in Chicago. The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board at a meeting in Bolingbrook unanimously approved the merger. The board approved all 15 applications required to change the ownership of all of the systems’ business units, a spokeswoman confirmed. The new Catholic, not-for-profit organization to be formed does not have a name. Last month, the group announced its first CEO and president would be Sandra Bruce, the president and CEO of Resurrection, and its chairman would be Guy Wiebking, Provena’s president and CEO.