Ad­vo­cate-Aurora deal clears fi­nal reg­u­la­tory hur­dle

Modern Healthcare - - Regional News - —Alex Kacik

The pro­posed merger be­tween Ad­vo­cate Health Care and Aurora Health Care cleared its fi­nal reg­u­la­tory hur­dle, paving the way for a 27-hos­pi­tal sys­tem span­ning Illi­nois to Wis­con­sin with $10.7 bil­lion in com­bined rev­enue.

Wis­con­sin reg­u­la­tors signed off on the deal late last week. The Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion and the chair of the Illi­nois Health Fa­cil­i­ties and Ser­vices Re­view Board ap­proved the merger in Fe­bru­ary. The Ad­vo­cateAurora com­bi­na­tion will cre­ate the coun­try’s 10th largest not-for-profit hos­pi­tal sys­tem.

The deal is ex­pected to close April 1. Jim Skogs­bergh, CEO of Ad­vo­cate, and Dr. Nick Turkal, CEO of Mil­wau­kee-based Aurora, will be co-CEOs of the new Ad­vo­cate Aurora Health.

Re­gional con­sol­i­da­tions are trend­ing across the in­dus­try as or­ga­ni­za­tions cope with wan­ing in­pa­tient vol­ume and gov­ern­ment re­im­burse­ment paired with ris­ing la­bor, tech­nol­ogy and com­pli­ance costs. Scale will help them ne­go­ti­ate bet­ter rates with sup­pli­ers and pay­ers and ex­pand pa­tient ac­cess through boost­ing in­vest­ment in out­pa­tient fa­cil­i­ties and telemedicine. Crunch­ing data on re­gional pop­u­la­tions can also re­veal the most prof­itable ser­vice lines, clin­i­cal qual­ity per­for­mance, their cur­rent po­si­tion with pay­ers and the strength of their physi­cian net­work.

Ad­vo­cate Aurora Health will em­ploy more than 3,300 physi­cians and nearly 70,000 as­so­ciates and care­givers while serv­ing about 2.7 mil­lion pa­tients ev­ery year across more than 500 lo­ca­tions.

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