Holy Cross Hospital joins Vanguard Health Systems

CHICAGO  (December 15, 2010)  Holy Cross Hospital (www.holycrosshospital.org) announced today it has signed a definitive agreement to join Vanguard Health Systems'  (www.vanguardhealth.com) Chicagoland network of hospitals and health facilities, which includes MacNeal, Weiss Memorial and Westlake Hospitals and West Suburban Medical Center.  Vanguard and the hospital's sponsors, the Sisters of Saint Casimir, have agreed Holy Cross will retain its full Catholic identity and long-time mission to serve the diverse community on the Southwest side of Chicago.

"Vanguard's stewardship will stabilize Holy Cross' finances and bring its infrastructure well into the 21st Century, allowing the charitable mission of Mother Maria Kaupas to live on," said Sister Immacula Wendt, General Superior of the Sisters of St. Casimir.   "Vanguard's stewardship will remove the financial clouds that have threatened the hospital's future and our new partner will invest a significant amount in sorely needed infrastructure improvements.  As a part of Vanguard's Chicagoland network, Holy Cross's health care professionals will become part of a larger family of providers with greater access to capital and a wide-variety of services all designed to enhance care to the patients and communities we serve."         

Holy Cross Hospital, facing a weak economy and continuing financial difficulties, had considered closure as a real possibility over the past several years.  "Despite enormous challenges, Holy Cross Hospital provides a broad spectrum of quality diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive and rehabilitation services, with care, compassion and competence to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of our patients and our community," said Wayne Lerner, president and CEO of Holy Cross Hospital.  "In order to continue this vital mission, the Sisters of Saint Casimir, the sponsors of Holy Cross Hospital, sought the stewardship of Vanguard Health Systems.  This agreement will save hundreds of jobs, fuel the region's economy and most importantly allow the remarkable work of this hospital and its staff to continue."

"We are ecstatic about the addition of Holy Cross to Vanguard's growing Chicagoland network.  Vanguard is committed to this region, and we look forward to serving the residents of city's southwest neighborhoods and suburbs," said Vanguard Chief Development Officer Trip Pilgrim.  "Vanguard is especially grateful to Cardinal George's leadership and commitment to providing high-level of quality health care to Chicagoland residents.  We look forward to working with him and the archdiocese for many years to come."

In 2005, Vanguard became one of the first in the nation to own and operate a for-profit, fully Catholic institution when it purchased Worcester, Massachusetts-based Saint Vincent Hospital.  "We verified Vanguard's experience and commitment to operating a Catholic hospital by visiting with key people at Saint Vincent Hospital," Wendt said.  "We spoke to the Chancellor of the Diocese of Worcester, and a diocesan priest who serves as chaplain and ethical director and has been at SVH since before it joined Vanguard.  SVH is under the oversight of the Diocese and three priests, including the Bishop and the Chancellor of the Diocese.  It also has an active and strong pastoral-care team.  The Catholic heritage of the Sisters is respected and the charitable mission lives on."

Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, has permitted the Vanguard-Holy Cross partnership.  Under Vanguard's stewardship, Holy Cross Hospital will continue to follow the ethical and religious directives of the Catholic Church, provide active pastoral care to patients, and be listed in the directory of Catholic institutions.   The Sisters of Saint Casimir will be seated on the hospital's advisory board and, with the Archbishop, will maintain reserve authority on matters of Catholicity.

Founded by the Sisters of St. Casimir in 1927, Holy Cross Hospital is a not-for-profit neighborhood health system serving residents of Chicago's southwest neighborhoods and suburbs.  The hospital houses over 330 beds and provides a comprehensive range of services, including emergency care, inpatient, outpatient, and surgical services.

Vanguard owns and operates 18 acute care hospitals and complementary facilities and services in Chicago, Illinois; Phoenix, Arizona; San Antonio, Texas; and central Massachusetts.  Vanguard also owns three managed care health plans: Phoenix Health Plan, a Medicaid managed health plan in Arizona; Abrazo Advantage Health Plan, a managed Medicare and dual-eligible health plan in Arizona; and the Chicago Health System, an integrated, risk-bearing provider network in Chicago.  Vanguard is one of 25 distinguished organizations in the world to receive the 2010 Gallup Great Workplace Award.  The award honors organizations whose employee engagement results demonstrate they have the most productive and engaged workforces in the world.