St. James hospitals pulled off the market

2014-06-15T05:30:00Z 2014-06-16T16:05:07Z St. James hospitals pulled off the marketVanessa Renderman vanessa.renderman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3244 nwitimes.com

CHICAGO HEIGHTS | Less than a year after announcing it was seeking a buyer or partner for its Chicago Region properties, Franciscan Alliance has pulled them off the market.

Franciscan St. James Health hospitals in Chicago Heights and Olympia Fields are two of the main properties in the group. 

Franciscan Alliance board members reached the decision three weeks ago, and hospital officials recently concluded information sessions with employees, said Franciscan St. James Health CEO Arnie Kimmel.

"Since January, we have operated in the black, in terms of our ability to generate cash," he said.

In 2013, the properties lost about $15 million in cash. The first five months of this year, the properties made $15 million.

"It's been a $30 million turnaround," Kimmel said. "We're not where we need to be, but we've made significant progress."

Because the finances have improved so much, the Franciscan Alliance board decided to take the properties off the market.

"They based it on the fact that they had confidence the improvements we've made are paying off and that they're sustainable," he said. "It's not just a short-term fix."

The properties underwent layoffs, there were internal initiatives to improve billing accuracy, there were efforts to decrease lengths of stay in the hospitals and a number of contracts were renegotiated, Kimmel said. 

The decision also reaffirms the commitment to the communities being served.

"This is a long-term commitment," he said.

Kimmel took over as CEO in December. He has a background in turning around distressed hospitals. He does not plan to move on to another hospital in need.

"I've made a commitment to stay here, because I believe the long-term future is bright for St. James," he said.

Based in Mishawaka, Ind., Franciscan Alliance also operates health care facilities in Indiana, including Franciscan St. Anthony Health hospitals in Crown Point and Michigan City, and Franciscan St. Margaret Health hospitals in Dyer and Hammond.

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