Read frequently asked questions below. Published 6/27/2019.
Why did Swedish Covenant Health (SCH) and NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) choose to pursue this new partnership?
The rapid change of healthcare prompted the Evangelical Covenant Church (the sponsor of Swedish Covenant Health), Covenant Ministries of Benevolence, the SCH Board of Directors, and SCH leadership to consider how to best provide the following: support and continuation of our mission, continued growth of our full-service acute care community hospital, financial stability, access to capital and funding for the pension plan. Ongoing partnership discussions led to evaluating the benefits of partnering with a top healthcare organization in Illinois that shares our commitment to community-based healthcare and has added benefits of a strong academic affiliation.
Throughout the 12-month evaluation process, NorthShore has consistently shared a mission and vision where SCH is at the center of their continued effort to improve healthcare for the North Side of Chicago. In the end, it was clear that NorthShore was the best organization for SCH to partner with to deliver quality healthcare for many years to come. Swedish Covenant Hospital will play a vital role within the system and remain a full-service acute care community hospital.
When will the transaction be complete?
Provided the transaction receives regulatory approval, NorthShore will assume ownership of Swedish Covenant Health at closing which is anticipated to occur at the end of 2019.
How will SCH benefit from the partnership?
There are three main benefits for SCH. First, this partnership will ensure that SCH can continue to provide first class healthcare to our community for many years to come, while keeping our 133-year commitment to serve the needs of our diverse community.
Second, having the leadership and guidance of one of the top 100 healthcare organizations in the country, known for outstanding quality care and innovation, will continue to allow us to expand and offer new medical services and advanced therapies to the North Side of Chicago.
Finally, this partnership will provide much needed capital and human resources so that we will be able to offer the very best care with the latest technologies to our community. As a result of the partnership, we will learn from each other, share and develop best practices and continuously advance patient care.
How will NorthShore benefit from the partnership?
SCH brings a 133 year history of compassionate care, highly trained and engaged physicians (both employed and independent), and a culture that has resonated with our communities to provide innovative growth to meet the changing healthcare needs.
What will patients notice?
Patients can expect the same excellent level of care they currently receive at SCH. They will continue to schedule doctors’ appointments, receive treatments, etc. the way they are accustomed to doing. All health insurance contracts currently in force at Swedish Covenant Health will remain in force. Once the transaction is complete, we believe patients will notice improvements that come with being part of a larger system: improved access to additional specialties, breadth of services and improved patient experience through state-of-the-art systems and technology.
How will jobs be impacted at SCH?
The vast majority of SCH and NorthShore’s employees will have no change in their day-to-day jobs. As our relationship with NorthShore evolves and we identify opportunities to centralize, consolidate, or expand, careful consideration will be given to the optimal integration options.
Coming together provides our teams with access to a broader set of learning and career opportunities as part of a larger system. Teams across both organizations will have the opportunity to collaborate on enhanced programs and services and identify improving system efficiency. Working together, we will learn from each other, share and develop best practices.
Will any SCH facilities close?
No. SCH will continue to operate its full-service, acute care community hospital, Galter LifeCenter, The Clark and its other on and off campus facilities.
How will operations change in 2019?
You can expect business as usual in reporting structure, operations, etc. until the transaction closes. Future integration efforts with NorthShore will include collaborations in some departments.
How will my benefits be impacted?
SCH and NorthShore recognize how important having a competitive benefits package is to attracting and retaining talented employees. We are committed to working towards offerings that achieve that goal. Right now, we are limited in being able to compare plans. After the transaction is completed, NorthShore and SCH will review employee benefit plans.
How will the SCH pension be impacted?
As a part of this partnership, NorthShore has committed to financially supporting the defined benefit pension for SCH retirees and future SCH retirees. The pension benefits will remain part of The Evangelical Covenant Church Retirement plan and continue to be administered by the Covenant Ministries of Benevolence.
Is the hospital maintaining its faith-based mission?
Yes. The same mission that began 133 years ago in our community will continue through our partnership with NorthShore. The organization understands and affirms our commitment to providing excellent healthcare in a spirit of Christian compassion, and has ensured through our guiding partnership arrangements that our mission-based community programs will continue.
Is SCH still involved with the Covenant Church?
SCH will maintain its name, its presence in this community and the key aspects of its founding mission. The presence of the Christian symbols that are so connected to our faith will remain in place, as will the hospital’s Pastoral Care program. We also expect a continued relationship with North Park University, both the nursing program and the seminary chaplain’s program. The Church will continue to be represented on the board and administer and oversee our employee pension program, which has complete financial backing as a part of our partnership with NorthShore.
Will Swedish Covenant Hospital maintain its Foundation as the charitable arm of the hospital?
Foundations at SCH and NorthShore will continue to operate as they do currently. Swedish Covenant Hospital Foundation is governed by a 12-member elected board of directors and will continue to oversee the Foundation as the charitable arm of SCH. Funds will be set aside in perpetuity for programs and services that are central to our mission in this community, such as the Violence Prevention Program, Housing for the Homeless Program, other existing Foundation-funded programs and new programs that have a direct impact on the community.
What is the culture of NorthShore, and does it align with our current values?
Cultural alignment and shared values are critical to the success of any partnership. SCH, Covenant Ministries of Benevolence and the Evangelical Covenant Church leadership teams placed culture, values and mission fit as key elements of this transition. Over the past century, SCH has developed a unique culture that is of great value to our employees and community. This partnership is founded on those shared values.
Both NorthShore and SCH have long histories serving the North Side and Northern Suburbs of Chicago. The organizations share much in common in their mission and values. NorthShore’s values include exceptional customer service, supportive workplace interactions and a professional work ethic – which are in alignment with the SCH SERVICE values.
What will be the leadership structure?
SCH will maintain a core local team of executive leadership, with SCH President and CEO Anthony Guaccio reporting to NorthShore President and CEO J.P. Gallagher. In terms of governance, SCH will maintain its own Board of Directors. Both organizations will continue to operate independent medical professional staffs with local leadership connected through the resources of a larger system.
SCH has always been proud to be an independent organization. Why did we decide to join a larger system?
SCH’s top priority has always been caring for our community. As we looked at the rapidly evolving landscape of healthcare and the future of independent standalone community hospitals, it became clear that the best way to advance this mission was to move beyond SCH into a partnership that will enhance our ability to further improve and expand patient services and control costs. We believe partnering today with NorthShore allows us to make this decision from a position of strength.