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UnityPoint considers partnership with Urbana's Carle Health

Both organizations believe this could benefit the overall health throughout the community while also decreasing health care costs.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — A possible partnership in the making could expand UnityPoint's health care support services in Central Illinois.

In a news release Monday, UnityPoint Health announced it is exploring a transition of its Peoria-based hospitals and affiliated clinics to Urbana, Illinois, where Carle Health is based.

Both health systems have signed two non-binding letters of intent:

  • First, UnityPoint Health – Central Illinois will explore the integration of its Methodist, Proctor and Pekin hospitals and clinics, Methodist College and other healthcare services into the Carle organization.
  • Second, UnityPoint Health and Carle Health will evaluate system-to-system opportunities for collaboration and efficiency.

Dr. Keith Knepp, regional president and CEO of UnityPoint Health – Central Illinois, said he believes the partnership could benefit the overall health of the community while also decreasing healthcare costs.

“Our organizations share a deep commitment to improving the health of the people and communities we serve,” Knepp said. “We look forward to working together to share expertise, advocate effectively on behalf of those we collectively serve and help grow and sustain our health care workforce in the region.”

The announcement cited both health systems' similar values, industry-leading electronic patient health records and focus on medical attention. The companies say these commonalities would ensure a "seamless transition."

“We believe bringing services together will mean even better health for our patients and our communities,” President and CEO of Carle Health James Leonard said. “Care is so much more comprehensive when the patient’s care team includes clinical care, social support and insurance coverage. Coming together in Peoria and the surrounding region is an important opportunity to serve patients.” 

According to the release, patients and communities would see the following lasting benefits through the proposal:

  • Health care Delivery: Expanded access to high-quality, cost-effective health care services.
  • Health care Coverage: Greater options for value-based care and contracting for local employers who purchase healthcare.
  • Workforce Development: An even stronger health care workforce and broader pipeline for new talent through colleges and residency programs.
  • Operational Efficiency: Optimization of services to provide high-quality care and improved support to clinicians.

The next steps for both organizations involve evaluating the details of the potential partnership while addressing appropriate regulatory requirements.

If both health systems have their agreement approved, a closing date is estimated for mid-to-late 2022.

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