CHICAGO – Two Illinois health systems – Cadence Health and Rockford Health System – this week announced their plans to merge, the latest in a long list of healthcare unions in the state in recent years.

The merged system would retain the Cadence name and operate 40 locations including four hospitals with a reach across Chicago’s western and northern suburbs to northern Illinois.

Cadence currently operates Central DuPage Hospital and Delnor Hospital while Rockford operates Rockford Memorial Hospital and Van Matre HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital, serving an area far northwest of Chicago and southern Wisconsin.

The two systems said the union would allow them to expand their clinical capabilities.

The merger is subject to regulatory approval.

“Together, we can build a leading multi-regional health system that meaningfully improves access to care, elevates quality, and lowers cost to deliver the best care and value to the communities we serve,” Cadence president Mike Vivoda said.

Cadence was formed in 2011 with the merger of Central DuPage in the Chicago suburb of Winfield and Delnor in the far west suburb of Geneva. The Rockford system is the largest system serving the region far northwest of Chicago.

Cadence has about $580 million of debt and revenues of $1.13 billion. Fitch Ratings early this year affirmed Cadence’s AA rating which “reflects Cadence’s robust liquidity, consistently strong profitability and leading market share position,” said Fitch, which rates about $330 million of debt issued by Central DuPage.

Rockford has annual revenues of $416 million and had been seeking a partner for some time. Rockford was poised to merge with OSF Healthcare System but last year they cancelled the proposed union amid a challenge by the Federal Trade Commission over competitive worries. Rockford issued $67 million of refunding debt in 1997 and $61 million in 2008. Its rating of A-plus is based on a liquidity facility from JPMorgan Chase Bank NA.

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