Ascension, AdventHealth are breaking up Amita Health, their 19-hospital joint system

Ascension and AdventHealth have announced plans to unwind Amita Health, the joint operating company formed by the faith-based systems back in 2015 to serve the greater Chicago area.

The systems said in a Thursday announcement that they came to the decision together, saying that it “is in their collective best interest in order to more nimbly meet the changing needs and expectations of consumers in the rapidly evolving healthcare environment.”

The systems did not give a timeline for the split or any additional information about why they are ending the collaboration. Fierce Healthcare has reached out for further comment.

Amita Health is among the largest systems in Illinois with 15 acute care hospitals, four specialty hospitals and numerous outpatient care sites, making it the largest system in the area.

The partners said they are working to ensure a “smooth and expeditious transition” that will not interrupt patient care.

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Once separated, AdventHealth and Ascension would operate their individual facilities. Presumably, this would mean that AdventHealth retains the four hospitals and other outpatient facilities of Adventist Midwest Health while Ascension controls the five hospitals and outpatient facilities of Alexian Brothers Health System as well as the 10 hospitals and other locations of Presence Health.

“Ascension and AdventHealth will begin the process of unwinding the partnership in a way that best serves the needs of the community,” the systems said. “AdventHealth and Ascension maintain a strong relationship and are united in ensuring the residents of Chicago have access to the best possible healthcare.”

Amita Health was initially formed in 2015 as a nine-hospital system but more than doubled in size with Ascension’s acquisition and merger of Presence Health in 2018. The system provides more than $335 million in annual community benefits, according to its website.

Word of the breakup runs counter to the industry’s broader consolidation trends. The past several months in particular have seen systems target high-value megamergers, albeit at the expense of the higher frequency of single-hospital deals, Kaufman Hall reports.