Ingalls Health System, a vital provider of medical services in the South Suburbs, including a major facility in Flossmoor, announced Thursday that it has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with University of Chicago Medicine to pursue a combined integrated health delivery system.
Ingalls and the U of C system announced the decision Thursday afternoon. Earlier in the day, the Ingalls Health System Board of Directors voted to sign the LOI with the University of Chicago Medicine, and announced the decision to staff and doctors. Although non-binding, the LOI is a reflection of the two organizations’ commitment to the partnership.
The decision marks the culmination of Ingalls’ seven-month process of identifying a health system partner that will complement and enhance health care for patients throughout Chicago’s southwest region, according to a joint press release from the two health systems.
In the next several months, Ingalls and the University of Chicago Medicine will engage in exclusive negotiations, carry out due diligence and begin planning the terms of their potential transaction. A formal closing date is expected late spring/early summer of 2016. Any affiliation would be subject to a definitive agreement and the necessary regulatory approvals.
“Ingalls is pursuing a relationship that will combine the resources of a leading integrated health delivery system in Chicago’s Southland with one of the nation’s leading academic medical institutions,” said Eugene Feingold, chair of the Ingalls Health System Board of Directors. “The University of Chicago Medicine shares our commitment to quality and vision for health care in the South Suburbs. We remain dedicated to providing the personalized care that our community has come to expect from Ingalls.”
When the transaction is finalized, Ingalls will join UChicago Medicine’s health network that includes the main medical campus in Hyde Park, numerous outpatient facilities including the planned Centers for Advanced Care in Orland Park and in the South Loop, as well as the University of Chicago Medicine Care Network of physicians.
Besides its 563-bed hospital in Harvey, the Ingalls system has three Family Care Centers that provide 24/7 services. They are located in Flossmoor, Tinley Park and Calumet City. Ingalls Health System also includes its Cancer Care Center and Same Day Surgery in Tinley Park, Care Centers in Crestwood and South Holland, Ingalls Center for Outpatient Rehabilitation in Calumet City and Ingalls Home Care & Hospice, which provides skilled nursing, support and therapy services throughout the Southland.
The original Ingalls Memorial Hospital opened in 1923 as a 50-bed facility. By 1930, it had doubled in size to meet the needs of a fast-growing south suburban area. The hospital was founded by industrialist Frederick Ingalls and dedicated to his wife, who passed away during its original construction.
“This partnership between UChicago Medicine and Ingalls underscores our commitment to improving health and access to quality care in our communities,” said Dr. Kenneth S. Polonsky, executive vice president of medical affairs and dean of the Biological Sciences Division at the University of Chicago. “Our collective patients and communities will benefit from the complementary services and greater options.”
Ingalls offers a regional network of top-rated outpatient services from highly respected physicians and specialists in modern settings close to home. It also features innovative service offerings, such as macular degeneration treatment from world-class retinal specialists, spine surgery from renowned experts and more oncology clinical trials than any other community hospital in the region. Ingalls shows its community stewardship in myriad ways, such as free screening events, educational programs and health fairs that reach thousands of south suburban residents.
“We’re pleased that our patients will have access to the expertise of one of the best academic medical centers in the country,” said Ingalls President and CEO Kurt Johnson. “Through this partnership, Ingalls will be able to invest in our facilities and enhance our technologies at an accelerated pace, which will help us continue our focus on providing innovative services and a strong regional network of top-rated outpatient services close to home.”
The University of Chicago Medicine comprises the University of Chicago Medical Center, Pritzker School of Medicine and the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division. The medical campus offers a full range of specialty care services for adults and children through more than 40 institutes and centers including an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. It has a long history of breakthrough research: 12 Nobel Prize winners in physiology or medicine have been affiliated with UChicago Medicine.
“The promising breakthroughs from our faculty and staff, and the high quality of education from the Pritzker School of Medicine provides the next generation of physicians and researchers,” said Emily Nicklin, chair of the Medical Center’s Board of Trustees. “We look forward to collaborating with the leadership, physicians and staff at Ingalls.”