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Illinois delays Atrium, Advocate Aurora merger

The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board voted Sept. 13 to postpone a vote on the change of ownership for 10 Advocate Aurora facilities in the state covered by the system's plan to merge with Charlotte, N.C.-based Atrium Health. 

Atrium and Advocate Aurora, dually headquartered in Milwaukee and Downers Grove, Ill., announced plans to merge into a 67-hospital system with upward of $27 billion in revenue in May. 

The combined system would be headquartered in Charlotte and have footprints in Illinois, Wisconsin, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. The new corporate entity will be named Advocate Health, with each system continuing to use its respective brand in its respective local markets.

The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board first voted 3-2 not to approve the applications for the change of ownership for Advocate Aurora's nine hospitals and one ASC in Illinois. Later voting at the same meeting, the board moved to reconsider the vote, which could happen at the next meeting in December or possibly earlier, a board member told the Chicago Tribune.

The vote is needed since the affiliation is considered a change of 50 percent or more of the voting members of a nonprofit corporation's board of directors that controls a healthcare facility's operation, license, certification or physical plant and assets. Advocate Health's board of directors will be made up of an equal number of members from Advocate Aurora and Atrium Health. 

Board members' concerns stemmed from the availability of information and their understanding about the deal, the Chicago Tribune reported. 

Advocate Aurora shared the following statement with Becker's on the board meeting outcome:

"State statute requires the Review Board to approve all Certificate of Exemption applications that staff have deemed complete. Our application was deemed complete last month, thus, we were surprised by today's delay and will work with the Review Board to address their questions. Please know we continue to work with other appropriate regulators and remain confident our combination is still on track to close by the end of the year." 

Atrium shared the following statement with Becker's:

"There are a number of regulatory bodies that have asked for information to review related to Atrium Health's proposed strategic combination with Advocate Aurora Health. The board in Illinois has indicated it wants to see additional information, and we will continue to share appropriate information."


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