Pam Davis: Merger w/Elmhurst Mem. perfect match.
Edward CEO says Elmhurst merger a perfect match
By: Hank Beckman for Sun-Times Media
August 21, 2013
The merger of Edward Hospital with Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare is the right prescription for health care for those in Naperville.
That’s the feeling of Pam Davis, CEO of Edward Hospital and Health Services, who capped off her 25th year on the job with the group by negotiating the merger of Edward and Elmhurst Memorial. She is the CEO of the new health care group.
Speaking to about 150 Chamber of Commerce members at the Chicago Marriott/Naperville hotel Monday, Davis said the merger helps the hospitals gain economies of scale. The savings will help the hospitals battle the trend of lower reimbursements to hospitals and doctors.
Noting that payments from Medicare and Medicaid have been reduced in recent years, Davis stressed that the loss of revenue didn’t ease the medical community’s responsibility.
“We are serving all those patients,” she said of those relying on government assistance. “It’s our job to do that.”
The merger was finalized in July, effectively creating a single health care server that will have 676 beds between the three main facilities at Edward, Elmhurst and Linden Oaks. The system will have 7,600 employees, of which 1,680 will be physicians, augmented by 1,700 volunteers.
Annual revenues will be $1 billion. Total assets are $2 billion.
The negotiations took place over six months and were the result of Elmhurst Hospital making the original approach, although Davis indicated that Edward’s leadership was also looking for new partners.
Davis said, though, that simply relying on the new efficiencies that should come from the merger will not be enough to stem the tide of rising health care costs.
She said the hospital group will have to be more efficient at the same time that it grows its customer base.
The Affordable Care Act has been criticized by some who see it having the potential to further limit doctor and hospital reimbursement, but Davis said the trend predated any mention of health care reform. But she also said the act was not likely to help in the matter of dwindling reimbursements from Medicare or Medicaid.
Davis said the merger was also an attempt to balance between being “big enough to be regionally significant” and small enough to be responsive to local needs.
Other benefits are expected from the merger, including the new system having three full-service cancer centers, heart specialists at both facilities and more.
One question remains unanswered, though: What to name the new entity. System Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Brian Davis said that before a name could be decided on, a discussion with board members of both hospitals would be necessary to determine exactly what the new institution’s focus would be.
“What do you aspire to be in the next three to five years,” Davis said was the questioned to be answered.
State Rep. Darlene Senger (R-Naperville) was at the Chamber event, and said that the merger was a good idea.
“Strategically it makes sense,” she said, stressing that with the Affordable Care Act beginning in 2014, the hospital needed a big population base.
State Sen. Michael Connelly (R-Naperville) said that in the end, the merger of Edward and Elmhurst not only made sense, but was also was a historic event for the area.
“It’s grown from more of a regional healthcare center to an almost national scope with the merger of the two hospitals,” he said.
Naperville, Illinois (IL) - Edward Hospital and Health Services