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Photo by Fred Pollard
As OSF Healthcare System representative Sister Judith Ann Duvall and St. Anthony's Health Systems representatives Mother M. Regina Pacis and CEO Sister M. Mikela look on, OSF CEO Kevin Schoeplein speaks about the pending merger of the two health care providers Monday during a press conference.
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Sister M. Mikela, President and CEO of St. Anthony’s
ALTON – With the smiling faces at St. Anthony’s Health System on St. Patrick’s Day, one would have thought somebody found a four-leaf clover.
During a press conference on the national holiday, the organization announced it has signed a letter of intent to join OSF Healthcare System.
“We can better serve our patients as one team,” Saint Anthony’s President and CEO Sister M. Mikela said.
Both St. Anthony’s and OSF say the measure will help maintain a focus on high-quality service and cost-cutting, along with expansion into research and development.
The partnership is expected to close by the end of the year. In the meantime, OSF Healthcare System CEO Kevin Schoeplein said the two entities will spend time together learning each other’s policies and procedures.
Schoeplein said the two health care systems have been engaging for the last five to six years, with talks of affiliation beginning in earnest last fall.
“OSF and St. Anthony’s share a unified mission and vision for the future: to ensure the tradition of high-quality Catholic health care is enhanced and expanded into Greater Alton and surrounding communities,” he said.
Both organizations say there currently are no plans to change procedures or policies, as the merge is not yet official. Schoeplein also said there were no plans to cut doctors or staff, and the hopes would be to instead grow employment at St. Anthony’s in the coming years.
Research has been a strong focus of OSF, and Schoeplein said he plans to bring that focus to St. Anthony’s.
“This potential affiliation is great news for the communities served by St. Anthony’s, ensuring local access to high-quality health care and technological advancement,” Chairperson of the Board of St. Anthony’s Health System, Mother M. Regina Pacis, said.
In what representatives referred to as “humble beginnings,” OSF’s sponsor, the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, officially formed in 1876 as six sisters and today is based out of Peoria, Ill.
“Both of our religious congregations have a rich tradition and heritage for caring for the sick and the poor. We can both trace our origins to … Germany in the mid-1800s,” said Sister Judith Ann Duvall, Chairperson of the Board of OSF Health Care.
The Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George has sponsored St. Anthony’s since 1925 and is based near the hospital.
Schoeplein said with a passion for education, innovation and research, the unification of the two entities displays the commitment OSF has for high-quality health care.
“We look forward to continuing this rich tradition in Alton and its surrounding communities,” he said.