- Ascension and AdventHealth are moving forward to dissolve their joint operating company Amita Health, formed seven years ago to serve the Chicago area. The decision to part ways was first announced in October.
- Both systems said last week they would rename their Amita-branded hospitals to reflect the change. Fourteen hospitals and more than 150 sites of care, previously part of Alexian Brothers Health System and Presence Health, will now operate under the Ascension Illinois umbrella. Employed doctors and their teams will be part of Ascension Medical Group.
- AdventHealth said it will be the sole operator of four Amita hospitals in the greater Chicago area that will carry its name going forward. Physician practices affiliated with the facilities will be renamed AdventHealth Medical Group to reflect the national brand.
In an era of increasing hospital mergers, the decision by the two faith-based organizations to go their separate ways is unusual, particularly when the financial struggles brought by COVID-19 are expected to accelerate consolidation in the sector. A shortage of nurses and surge in labor and supply costs are among the difficulties that have challenged health systems during the pandemic.
St. Louis-based Ascension, one of the country's largest nonprofit healthcare systems, reported in February that expenses outpaced revenue growth in the first half of its fiscal year, slashing its operating margin from 5.7% to 0.2%. The chain operates more than 2,600 care sites, including 142 hospitals and more than 40 senior living facilities, across 19 states and the District of Columbia.
The original Amita Health joint venture grew in 2018 with the addition of Presence Health, which brought 10 more hospitals and more than 150 sites of care into the fold. After the acquisition, Amita discontinued some service lines at three of the former Presence hospitals due to low utilization, Crain's Chicago Business reported.
When Ascension and AdventHealth announced the breakup of their Amita Health partnership in October, AdventHealth said both systems had decided that separating would allow them to be more nimble in the evolving healthcare environment.
AdventHealth said it has appointed Thor Thordarson as president and CEO for the Great Lakes region, which includes the facilities and medical groups in Illinois. Thordarson, who began his healthcare career as a nurse, previously was Amita Health's chief operating officer.
AdventHealth has more than 50 hospitals in seven states, along with 73 skilled nursing, home health, hospice and urgent care facilities.
Amita Health CEO Keith Parrott will serve as the leader of the Ascension Illinois hospitals and facilities.