CHICAGO - Rating agency officials are taking a close look at a proposed merger of two large Chicago-area health care systems that are among the latest institutions to join a wave of consolidations occurring across the nation.

EHS Health Care, based in Oak Brook, Ill., and Lutheran General HealthSystem, based in Park Ridge, Ill., yesterday announced they have signed a letter of intent to merge, which would make the combined entity one of the largest health systems in northeastern Illinois.

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