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Delnor Hospital’s parent may merge with Northwestern University’s health system

Visitors walk to the new main entrance during the Project Move community event and open house at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Ill., on Sunday, July 17, 2011.  | Corey R. Minkanic~For Sun-Times Media
Central DuPage Hospital 25 N. Winfield Rd. Winfield, IL  60190   submitted 10/2010

GENEVA — Steps toward the consolidation of the Fox Valley’s hospitals into ever bigger regional chains continues.

After attempts to merge with Sherman Hospital in Elgin and then with Rockford Health System fell through, Cadence Health System — the parent of Delnor Hospital in Geneva and Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield — announced Thursday that it is likely to merge with Northwestern Memorial HealthCare.

Northwestern Memorial HealthCare owns Northwestern Memorial Hospital, an 894-bed teaching hospital in Chicago; Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, a 201-bed community hospital in Lake Forest; and Northwestern Medical Group, which includes the 900-plus faculty physicians at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Cadence Health System was formed in 2011 by a merger between Delnor and Central DuPage Hospital. It also includes 250 physicians employed by the Cadence Physicians Group and various regional care centers.

A press release from NMHC states that Cadence and NMHC “have signed a letter of intent to enter a period of exclusive discussions to form an integrated academic health care delivery system.”

It is unclear how far the discussions have come or how long they will take to reach a conclusion. Cadence and NMHC officials stated that “due to the confidential nature of the discussion, additional details are not available at this time” beyond what was stated in the press release.

Name change

But the negotiations apparently have agreed on some major details. The release states that “the new health system will operate under the Northwestern Medicine brand name and its governance will include equal representation from Cadence Health and NMHC.”

The release also states that NMHC President and CEO Dean M. Harrison would be the top executive in the combined health system while Mike Vivoda, who is now president and chief executive officer of Cadence Health, would become the regional president of NMHC.

“We believe this merger will create a multi-regional health system focused on the singular vision of providing high quality care with an unwavering patient focus,” Vivoda said in the release.

“Cadence Health is one of Illinois’ premier health care systems, serving patients throughout Chicago’s surrounding communities,” Harrison said. “A merger of our health systems would combine Cadence Health’s strong portfolio of primary and specialty care with our strength as one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, to create a preeminent integrated academic health system that benefits all residents, regardless of their ability to pay, by giving them increased access to physicians, clinical trials and Northwestern University research programs as well as integrated primary, secondary and advanced tertiary services.”

Prior mergers

When Elgin-based Sherman Health System decided it needed to merge with a larger partner, Cadence was one of 11 health systems that threw their hats into the ring. And at the end, Cadence was one of two finalists to go with Sherman to the altar. But Sherman’s board eventually picked the much larger Oak Brook-based Advocate Health System, the largest in Illinois, and Sherman became part of Advocate last summer, taking the new name “Advocate Sherman Hospital.”

Last November, Cadence announced that it was negotiating a possible merger with Rockford Health System, the parent of Rockford Memorial Hospital. But just a month ago, the two announced that their engagement had been called off.

Cadence and Rockford Health had “realized that we have some differences that would prevent us from aligning our operational strategies,” Vivoda said in a January news release.

Cadence Health was formed in 2011 by a merger between Central DuPage Hospital, Delnor Hospital and their related physicians groups and community care centers.

Delnor — named after St. Charles heiress Dellora Norris, who donated money to build what was then the hospital’s St. Charles building in 1940 — also merged with Geneva Community Hospital in 1986 and in 1991 moved to its present building along Randall Road in Geneva, giving up both Delnor’s and Geneva Community’s original buildings.

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