Advocate Health Care and the financially struggling Condell Medical Center announced plans last week to enter into an exclusive agreement to negotiate a merger.

The announcement followed Condell’s rejection of a possible merger with Lake Forest Hospital. Advocate is based in Oak Brook, just west of Chicago, and is the largest health care provider in the region, operating eight hospitals. Condell is a 250-bed facility located in Libertyville, about 25 miles north of Chicago.

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