St. Margaret's and IVCH Sign Definitive Agreement to Affiliate

New regional health network will strengthen health care in the Illinois Valley

SPRING VALLEY, Illinois (October 14, 2020) - St. Margaret's Health in Spring Valley, a member of SMP Health System, and Illinois Valley Community Hospital (IVCH) in Peru have signed a binding Definitive Agreement to consolidate their healthcare operations to form a regional health network. The new organization will be governed by SMP Health System through a new regional parent company, which will have board members representing the local communities historically served by the two health systems.

“We are extremely pleased that IVCH has chosen to partner with St. Margaret’s and the SMP Health System. SMP Health System is looking forward to working with our IVCH colleagues to create a vibrant healthcare network which will better serve the needs of the Illinois Valley community,” said Aaron K. Alton, President/CEO SMP Health System. “This new partnership will also help to expand the Mission of the Sisters of Mary of the Presentation.”

“Our collective efforts will allow us to better address the challenges we face in today’s healthcare climate,” said Tim Muntz, St. Margaret’s President/CEO. “This affiliation allows us the opportunity to enhance our operations and services, while also exploring the possibilities of bringing additional services to our community.”

"Joining St. Margaret’s and SMP Health System provides us the best opportunity to preserve the care provided by IVCH and ensure the health needs of our community will be met long into the future,” said Tommy Hobbs, CEO at IVCH. “Nothing is more important to us than the well-being of those we serve.”

Both St. Margaret’s and IVCH have recently submitted Certificate of Exemption applications to the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board (IHFSRB), for a change of ownership. After the affilation is complete, IVCH will be known as St. Margaret’s Health - Peru. Likewise, St. Margaret’s Hospital will be known as St. Margaret’s Health - Spring Valley.

St. Margaret’s and IVCH intend to finalize their affiliation by the end of this year, pending approval by the IHFSRB. Once the affiliation is complete, the combined entities will conduct a thorough assessment of both facilities, the services provided and the needs of the communities that they serve. It is anticipated that the full integration of the two organizations will take one to two years.

Linda Burt, MSN
Vice President, Quality & Community Services
St. Margaret’s Health

Joan Fernandez, BSN
Director, Community Relations & Marketing
Illinois Valley Community Hospital

Frequently Asked Questions

What has been announced?

St. Margaret’s Health and IVCH have signed a binding Definitive Agreement to form a regional health network as part of SMP Health System. By coming together, we will be able to offer excellent healthcare close to home and ensure a thriving health system to serve our community long into the future.

This announcement comes after an extensive amount of due diligence. The best interests of our patients, medical staff, employees, and our communities have been driving our decisions throughout this process.

What are the goals of this affiliation?

St. Margaret’s Health and IVCH have each served this region for more than 100 years. We recognized that coming together is in the best interest of our patients, given the dramatic changes in the healthcare delivery system. By combining our operations, we will be able to provide more high-quality, efficient and locally coordinated care for our patients.

Our two hospitals support a shared vision for efficiently delivering high-quality healthcare in the region. We already successfully collaborate on joint initiatives, such as Valley Regional Health Services and Valley Regional Cancer Center. The residents of our communities have also long encouraged our hospitals to work more closely together.

Together, we will form a sustainable regional health network that will be able to meet the health needs of our communities, today and long into the future.

What led to this decision?

As you know, today’s healthcare environment and the delivery of care have evolved significantly in recent years. Stand-alone hospitals need to think strategically and be fiscally responsible to survive.

Thanks to advances in healthcare, we are able to care for more people on an outpatient basis. People who do need to spend the night in the hospital generally have shorter stays than in years past. This shift places added pressures on small community hospitals, like St. Margaret’s and IVCH. Additional expertise, resources and partnerships are also necessary to implement new population health initiatives that address the health needs of entire communities.

After an extensive review of the hospital’s options dating back to 2017, the IVCH Board and leadership team determined that a mutually-beneficial affiliation with another health system would allow IVCH to preserve and enhance the clinical services available to the residents of the Illinois Valley. IVCH approached St. Margaret’s to consider an affiliation.

St. Margaret’s and IVCH announced our intent to affiliate in March 2019. Since then, we have been exploring what an affiliation would mean for our organizations, our patients, and our communities. Our conversations were paused at the start of the COVID-19 crisis, but the experience of a global pandemic has only made our resolve to come together stronger.

As a single organization, we can achieve the scale necessary to expand our clinical programs, recruit physicians and staff, attract patients and, most importantly, provide the highest quality care for our patients close to home.

What happens next?

Nothing will change immediately.

We have submitted Certificate of Exemption applications for a change of ownership to the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board. Applications were filed for both IVCH and St. Margaret’s to reflect the new integrated health system. With regulatory approval, we expect our affiliation to be finalized on December 31, 2020.

A local Board of community leaders will continue to guide the new integrated system. Our two hospitals will be known as St. Margaret’s Health-Spring Valley and St. Margaret’s Health-Peru.

Once our affiliation is completed, we will conduct a thorough assessment of both facilities, services provided, and our community’s needs. It is too soon to know when service line expansions or consolidations, capital investments or other changes, may happen and what they would look like.

We expect the full integration of our two organizations to take one to two years.

What will this mean for patients?

St. Margaret’s Health and IVCH will work collaboratively to offer comprehensive, high-quality services so our patients can receive the care they need close to home. We can do this more effectively working together than apart.

We intend to make this process as smooth as possible for our patients, staff and communities. Our patients will be able to expect superior healthcare delivered in the same compassionate manner. Patients will continue to have access to their same care providers.

What services will the health network provide?

The new regional health network will look to grow and enhance the healthcare services available in our community. After the transaction’s closing, we will be reviewing what the best inpatient and outpatient models will be for the new integrated network. We intend to continue operating both campuses.

Will IVCH follow the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs)?

As an affiliate of SMP Health System, IVCH will abide by the ERDs.

When will more information be available?

SMP Health System, St. Margaret’s Health and IVCH are committed to sharing information throughout this process. We look forward to sharing an update once the affiliation has been approved by the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board in the next month or two.

We remain optimistic about the opportunity an affiliation presents, to better serve our communities. We are grateful for your ongoing support.