Charlotte, NC-based Atrium Health and Downers Grove, IL- and Milwaukee, WI-based Advocate Aurora Health have formally combined to become the nation’s fifth-largest nonprofit health system. Taking the name Advocate Health, the $27B system will control 67 hospitals across six states in the Midwest and Southeast. The merger, announced in May of this year, unites the systems on even footing, with equal representation on a new board of directors, and a co-CEO arrangement for the first 18 months. The Atrium, Advocate, and Aurora brands will continue to be used in their respective local markets.
The Gist: Structuring Advocate Health as a joint operating agreement, and creating a new superstructure atop the two legacy systems, should allow the combined entity more flexibility in local decision-making, while still potentially generating cost savings from back-office efficiencies.
While we expect these kinds of mega-mergers between large regional systems to continue, it remains to be seen whether the newly combined systems can successfully create value by building larger “platforms” of care to win consumer loyalty, deploying digital capabilities, attracting talent, and becoming more desirable partners for nontraditional players.