By Victor Yehling & Dan Klefstad
DeKalb – The merger of Rockford Health System with OSF Health care in Rockford was approved unanimously this afternoon by the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board. The board heard testimony from Kevin Schoeplen of OSF and RHS CEO Gary Kaatz before the vote. The two organizations have been in negotiations for more than a year. Both groups have a hospital in Rockford and various affiliated clinics and physician groups. The merger would eliminate certain reproductive health services now available at Rockford Memorial Hospital. The merger still requires approval by the Federal Trade Commission. Both Rockford Health System and OSF Healthcare are underwriters of WNIJ.