Megamerger would make Advocate Aurora Health one of the largest systems in the nation

Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care have revealed plans to merge, forming one of the country's largest nonprofit health systems. 

If the deal is approved, the two organizations will unite to form Advocate Aurora Health, which will serve close to 3 million patients each year in Illinois and Wisconsin, according to a joint announcement. The new system would be the 10th-largest nonprofit, integrated system in the U.S. 

The merger aims to increase access, improve efficiency and put new models of care delivery in place.

"This merger is about transforming care delivery and reimagining the possibilities of health as bigger meets better and size meets value to benefit customers," Jim Skogsbergh, CEO of Advocate, said in the announcement. "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." 

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The announcement comes just months after Advocate abandoned a planned merger with NorthShore University HealthSystem following a legal challenge by the Federal Trade Commission. A federal judge granted the FTC a temporary injunction to stop the merger, which led the two Illinois systems to abandon the plan altogether.  

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If the deal between Advocate and Aurora goes through, it would unite Chicago-based Advocate's 12 hospitals with Milwaukee-based Aurora's 15 hospitals. The unified system would employ more than 3,300 doctors and more than 70,000 total staffers, according to the announcement. 

Advocate and Aurora's combined annual revenue is about $11 billion. The two systems already have an established relationship, according to the announcement, as for 20 years they have jointly owned and operated ACL Laboratories. The deal is expected to close in mid-2018. 

"We share a bold vision for the future as we create a consumer-centric system to improve the quality of life for the diverse communities we serve," Aurora Board Chair Joanne Disch said in the announcement. 

Under the plan, Skogsbergh and Nick Turkal, M.D., president and CEO of Aurora, would serve as co-CEOs. There would be a single board of directors made up of an equal number of members from Advocate and Aurora. Each system would maintain its current headquarters, according to the announcement.