JOLIET – Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center now is part the Ascension health system after the completion of a merger on Friday.
The merger includes all Presence Health facilities and operations.
Officials in a news release and emails made optimistic statements about the new entity.
“By combining our strengths and learning from one another, we will strengthen Catholic health care and our ability to provide passionate, personalized care in Illinois and in every community across the country where we are privileged to serve,” Assumption President and CEO Anthony Tersigni said in a news release announcing the completion of the merger.
St. Louis-based Ascension is the nation’s largest nonprofit health system and the largest Catholic health system in the world, according to the release.
According to the news release, all Presence Health hospitals, outpatient facilities and most other sites will become part of AMITA Health, a joint venture of Ascension’s Alexian Brothers Health System and Adventist Midwest Health. What the Joliet hospital will be named is not clear.
“While the Presence name may be replaced with AMITA over time, it is too early to commit to the future nomenclature of the Presence Health facilities such as its hospitals,” read an email response from the organization as to whether the Joliet hospital’s name will be changed.
The Joliet hospital has had the Presence name since a 2011 merger of Provena Health and Resurrection Health created Presence Health. It was previously Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center after the creation of Provena Health in 1997, which included a network of Illinois hospitals.
The Illinois Nurses Association, the union that represents nurses at Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center, put out a statement with concerns about the merger.
“Previous mergers involving St. Joseph’s Medical Center have not created improved working conditions for nurses, nor better health care outcomes and service for patients,” the INA statement said.
The statement also said, “Many health care experts have found that hospital mergers raise health care costs while laying off staff members – in this case, those layoffs may be Joliet-area residents.”
Ascension and Presence officials would only respond to questions through email.
“We do not expect the transaction will directly affect the work and responsibilities of most associates,” they said in response to a question of whether there will be staff changes or job cuts at the Joliet hospital.
They said it was “too early in the process” for decisions on whether there would be staff cuts at any Presence Health facilities in Will County but added “we do not expect facility closures.”