University of Chicago Medicine and Ingalls Health System have completed their merger, allowing U of C to have a presence not only on the city’s South Side, but also in the south suburbs.
There’s no financial exchange under the agreement, but Harvey-based Ingalls Memorial Hospital will join the U of C brand. The Illinois Health Facilities and Service Review Board approved the merger, which is now in effect. A spokeswoman said all of the criteria were met to allow the merger.
Ingalls President Kurt Johnson, who will remain at the south suburban hospital, said officials began to look at other area hospitals with which to merge about two years ago. He said U of C was attractive because it is one of the top medical schools in the country.
“Ingalls, like many community hospitals, has an aging medical staff,” Johnson said. “And we found it increasingly difficult to recruit high-quality, well-trained physicians to our location. Our partnership will be a major step forward, in that we will benefit from their placing physicians at Ingalls and various Ingalls sites. This will not replace the 450 community physicians that work at Ingalls but supplement.”
Kenneth Polonsky, executive vice president of medical affairs and dean of the Biological Services Division at U of C, said the Ingalls relationship allows for a stronger partnership with a community hospital.
“That complements us very well. It enables us to spread our services,” Polonsky said. “There’s a lot that we can actually learn from them.”
Ingalls has a home health department, mental health services and inpatient psychiatry services.
“They do a variety of things we don’t do,” Polonsky said. “We do a variety of things they don’t do.”
Planning to integrate the two hospitals will begin soon.
Natalie Moore is WBEZ's South Side reporter. Follow here @natalieymoore.