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JourneyCare Featured as Success Story in Nonprofit Merger Study

mergers-studyJourneyCare is featured as one of five nonprofit merger case studies in the recently released study, Mergers as a Strategy for Success: 2016 Report from the Metropolitan Chicago Nonprofit Merger Research Project.

The study was released by Mission+Strategy Consulting and Chicago Foundation for Women on October 20, 2016. The research was carried out by the Center for Nonprofit Management at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

The full report can be found at chicagonpmergerstudy.org

According to this first of its kind study in Chicago, mergers among nonprofits should be considered as an important strategic option to promote mission and increase impact.

Overall, the study examined key factors that led to successful outcomes in 25 mergers across various nonprofit sectors. The 2015 merger of Horizon Hospice and Palliative Care, JourneyCare and Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter is featured as one of five in-depth merger case studies in the report, “An Analysis of Five Successful Mergers.”

“JourneyCare is key to our nonprofit merger study because there is no more critical merger driver than the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and the impact it is having on the healthcare industry specifically and on nonprofit providers generally,” explained Donald Haider, Emeritus Professor of Strategy at the J.L. Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, who led the research project.

Notable points from the Report:

  • JourneyCare, the largest of our five case studies, is also the most complex due to size, scope and the challenges of integrating three volunteer-driven organizations. Having survived the first year of merger without patient, market or referral loss is a significant accomplishment. Growth has resumed and financial metrics are on track… (Findings, pg.29)
  • By combining services and patient referrals, JourneyCare created the largest hospice network in the Chicago metro area. The merger enabled it to serve more patients within its current footprint and to expand services into new geographic areas. (Pooling Strategies, pg. 36)
  • The case (JourneyCare) also demonstrates a well-managed merger process: an experienced health care consultant helped guide a step-by-step progression that enabled three boards to arrive at a successful outcome. (Case Study, pg. 75)
  • Only one year into merger integration, JourneyCare showed remarkable stability, with growth prospects ahead:
    • Number of patients served remained steady
    • Referrals remained steady
    • Patient/family satisfaction held its own with improvements in sight
    • Employee retention remained above industry standards
    • Business/risk metrics (operating margins, cash and reserves) on target, with break-even possible for the year (first year losses had been forecasted)
    • Strategic plan updated and a new business plan in place for the fall
    • Designation as one of the nation’s 11 Palliative Care Leadership Centers and as one of 141 hospices nationally to participate in the Medicare Care Choices Model.

“If nonprofits decide to pursue a merger, the findings of the study provide a road map to achieving successful outcomes,” added Haider. “That will produce better results for clients, communities, staff and funders.”

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