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Normal, Eureka Hospitals Officially Join Carle Health

Carle signage in Normal
Ryan Denham
Advocate BroMenn officially became Carle BroMenn Medical Center on Wednesday.

Advocate BroMenn officially became Carle BroMenn Medical Center on Wednesday, as the Urbana-based Carle Health system completed its acquisition of the Normal hospital and another one in Eureka.

Carle officials touted a smooth transition that would not disrupt patient care, with few exceptions. The $190 million acquisition, impacting 1,900 employees, was completed as Carle and Advocate also navigate the pandemic that made the last few months like “drinking out of a firehose,” said Dr. James C. Leonard, Carle’s president and chief executive officer.

“We’re really better together. This is not about a Carle grab, or send everybody to Champaign,” Leonard said. “This is about us moving ahead and being able to provide an even higher level of care for everybody in central Illinois.”

BroMenn is no stranger to name or ownership changes. The former Brokaw Hospital became BroMenn Regional Medical Center in 1991 after a major expansion. The BroMenn system merged with Downers Grove-based Advocate in 2010. And then Advocate and Aurora Healthcare merged in 2018.

“The enthusiasm by our team members and our physicians to become part of Carle Health is incredibly strong,” said Colleen Kannaday, who remains president of Carle BroMenn and Carle Eureka Hospital. “I would not say there’s (ownership change) fatigue. I would say there’s great excitement.”

Almost all of BroMenn’s doctors have stuck with Carle, said Kannaday, adding one doctor retired, and a few others moved out of the area to be closer to family. The acquisition announced in January has actually aided physician recruitment, she said, including two new doctors who joined Carle Eureka.

“It’s because of the enthusiasm of being a part of a very strong, iconic regional health system and the opportunities that will exist professionally for the physicians,” Kannaday said.

Health Alliance opportunities

Carle also operates a for-profit health insurance company called Health Alliance, which is available to some state employees, and has long been available to those at BroMenn and Eureka. 

Leonard pointed to one example on how a provider-based health plan is advantageous to patients. When Carle decides whether to include a new medication on the official list of what can be prescribed, its doctors are consulted, he said.

“It’s not the insurance company pushing things ahead,” Leonard said. “It’s actually a clinical decision within the health plan, and BroMenn-Eureka physicians will be involved in those decisions as well. So they really have ownership, and that really impacts the patient relationship and the trust.”

Carle is contracted with all the major insurance plans, Kannaday said, and “all of them moved over and will a part of our network with very few, minor exceptions. The same patients that were able to able to access us yesterday will largely be able to access us today.”

Carle also said it “continues to honor BroMenn and Eureka’s faith-based history and heritage. While those faith-based roots will not extend to Carle, the health system promotes inclusivity and honors all faiths.”

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