Advocate-Aurora merger would create 10th largest nonprofit health system in US

Downers Grove, Ill.-based Advocate Heath Care and Milwaukee-based Aurora Health Care announced plans to merge systems which are already the largest in their respective states into a 27-hospital system with around $11 billion in annual revenue.

Advocate had previously sought to merge with another Illinois system, NorthShore University Health Care, but called off the deal in March after the Federal Trade Commission was granted an injunction in court based on the market share the combined system would have controlled in the suburbs of Chicago. While the combined Advocate-Aurora system would be larger than the $7 billion Advocate-NorthShore combination, the two systems’ markets don’t overlap geographically, which could boost their chances for regulatory approval.

“This merger is about transforming care delivery and reimagining the possibilities of health as bigger meets better and size meets value to benefit consumers,” Advocate CEO and president Jim Skogsbergh, said in a statement. “By joining forces we will be able to expand our network to scale innovation and create a destination in the Midwest for patients and the talented clinicians who care for them.”

The two systems have worked together as joint owners and operators of ACL Laboratories for 20 years. Under the proposed merger approved by both systems’ boards, each system would retain their current headquarters and both brand names would continue to be used. A single, unified board would be created with an equal number of members from the existing boards. At the top would be Skogsbergh and Nick Turkal, MD, Aurora’s president and CEO, acting as co-CEOs of the combined company.

“For the communities in Illinois and Wisconsin that we serve and for our two organizations, this is an unprecedented opportunity to shape our future and better serve patients,” Turkal said.

If combined, the Advocate-Aurora system would employ more than 70,000 people and serve an estimated 2.7 million patients.