Vow to explore options that will best serve the community
Officials at Riverside Healthcare and Iroquois Memorial Hospital (IMH) each signed a non-binding Letter of Intent this week to explore merging IMH into Riverside Healthcare.
"We are very excited about exploring what this could mean," said Phil Kambic, president and CEO of Kankakee-based Riverside Healthcare. "We have served the residents of Watseka and Iroquois County in various capacities for many years. This opportunity allows us to examine how we might shift that model and work with the dedicated team at Iroquois Memorial to find new and better ways to meet the healthcare needs of the community."
The Letter of Intent gives both organizations the chance to work confidentially to explore the possible merger.
"The Board, physicians and staff of Iroquois Memorial Hospital continue their deep commitment to having quality healthcare in our community," said Tim Smith, president and CEO of IMH. "As we look to the future, we believe we need a partner to effectively advance our mission. Having had conversations over the years with Riverside about what the future of healthcare might look like in this community, we felt now was the right time to explore the merger."
While no specific timeline for the merger was released, the due diligence process and review by regulatory bodies could conclude by the first quarter of 2019.
"This process is just getting started," said Kambic. "But as we move forward, I anticipate this to be a very exciting and rewarding chapter for Riverside, IMH and the residents of Iroquois County."
IMH opened in 1916 and has undergone numerous expansions. They currently employ 450 staff and operate several satellite clinics. Riverside, which opened its main hospital in Kankakee in 1964, employs 3,000 staff and began providing oncology care in Watseka in the early 1980s. In 2011, Riverside opened an outpatient facility in Watseka, which now provides immediate, primary and specialty care as well as chemotherapy and infusion services.