In a move that will transform health care delivery in Illinois, the Boards of the Illinois Hospital Association (IHA) and the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council (MCHC) earlier this month authorized the organizations to enter into a combination agreement for the purpose of creating a statewide, integrated organization. The integrated organization, which will be called IHA, will bring together the best talent, best services and best programs to help drive more value to members and will serve as the trusted voice and resource for health care in Illinois. The organization will begin combined operations in January 2016.
In a joint statement, Dean M. Harrison, president and CEO, Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and IHA board chair, and Michael S. Eesley, CEO, Centegra Health System and MCHC board chair said, “This decision marks the beginning of a truly historic shift for Illinois health care. Together, the leadership at IHA and MCHC are building a dynamic, integrated organization, with a powerful, unified voice that will support member health care institutions and drive continued innovation to benefit the health of all Illinoisans.”
Current IHA President and CEO Maryjane Wurth will lead IHA. She will be assisted by MCHC President and CEO Dan Yunker, who will be an executive vice president, as well as president and CEO of the Midwest Healthcare Institute, a regional entity that will offer new solutions to hospitals and health care organizations and serve as an incubator for innovation and development; and by IHA Chief Government Relations Officer A.J. Wilhelmi, who will serve as executive vice president for Advocacy, Policy and Member Services and will lead the organization’s advocacy initiatives in the metropolitan Chicago area, Springfield and Washington, DC. Together, this executive team will lead strategy and operations for IHA.
Five long-term goals have been identified for IHA in order to benefit health care organizations and patients in Illinois as well as on a regional and national level:
- Strengthen and align advocacy and influence leadership to reform the delivery of health care in the state of Illinois;
- Enhance the ability to assist in performance improvement and to facilitate the transformation of hospitals and health systems;
- Enhance offerings in technology, data and information to support the management of population health and systems of care;
- Expand the array of trusted business and performance solutions through the Midwest Healthcare Institute to help hospitals and health systems transform the delivery of care; and
- Enhance operational effectiveness through innovative solutions.
According to the executive team, this integrated model provides a unique opportunity to redefine what it means to be a health and hospital association and produce positive innovation in the marketplace by bringing together the talent and expertise of both organizations.
This integration will enhance the ability of the Illinois health care community to meet the “Triple Aim” of health care—improving care, improving population health and reducing costs—by leveraging both organizations’ years of service to the health care community.
IHA and MCHC will provide members and stakeholders with more information on the governance and operational structure as well as on the Midwest Healthcare Institute in the coming months.