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UM Health System, MidMichigan Health Seek ‘Partnership’

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ANN ARBOR — Midland-based MidMichigan Health and the University of Michigan Health System have announced plans to affiliate as clinical and business partners.

Final terms of the deal haven’t yet been decided, but UM spokeswoman Kara Gavin said the intent is for UM Health System to take up to a 10 percent ownership stake in MidMichigan Health. The ownership would be taken by Michigan Health Corp., UM’s nonprofit health firm. MidMichigan Health is also a private nonprofit.

Officials with both systems said the intent is to “align” the two systems’ clinical services and doctors, expanding access and improving the level of care in the 14-county region served by MidMichigan. It would bring the nationally ranked health care expertise of UMHS to Midland, Alma, Clare, Gladwin, Mt. Pleasant and other geographic areas where MidMichigan has facilities and clinics.

And, the systems said, the partnership would expand on a cancer services partnership already in place by teaming the two organizations to collaborate on the development of a major regional cancer center treating the vast array of cancer diagnoses.

MidMichigan and UMHS also would work together to deepen MidMichigan’s clinical capabilities in several other clinical areas. Should it be necessary for patients from MidMichigan to seek care in Ann Arbor, UMHS would offer an expedited and preferred referral and communication process as well as coordination with the original MidMichigan referring physician when arranging the patient’s discharge.

In addition, it’s anticipated that affiliation with UMHS would enhance MidMichigan’s ability to recruit physicians to its medical staffs in Midland, Alma, Clare and Gladwin and better serve MidMichigan Health Parks in Freeland, Mt. Pleasant, West Branch (opening in October) and Houghton Lake. MidMichigan has started more than 50 new medical practices in the past year but the need for additional physicians and advanced level practitioners with excellent credentials remains a high priority.

“Together MidMichigan Health and the University of Michigan Health System will bring a new level of health care to the region,” said MidMichigan Health President and CEO Richard M. Reynolds. “The excellence provided by our organizations is unparalleled, and by joining together to combine services, our patients will be fully served with a greater continuum of care. This affiliation affirms and strengthens our mission of improving the quality of life for those who live in the communities we serve.”

“We are so pleased to pursue this strategic affiliation with MidMichigan Health, which has a proud history, a dedication to quality care, and an important role in the region’s communities,” said Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D., executive vice president for medical affairs at the University of Michigan and CEO of UMHS. “Working together, I know we can achieve so much and strengthen both of our health systems in this new era of health care delivery.”

MidMichigan Health and UMHS will be prepared for new federal and state programs, such as the creation of accountable care organizations that create incentives for health systems to provide better and more coordinated care for entire populations of patients while minimizing the cost of care.

UMHS includes the UM Hospitals & Health Centers, which treat patients from every county in Michigan as well as from other states and nations. It also includes the UM Medical School with its 1,600-member Faculty Group Practice and research laboratories. UMHS has earned recognition in the U.S. News & World Report honor roll of “America’s Best Hospitals” for 18 years in a row.

MidMichigan Health serves a 14-county region in the middle of Michigan, with Medical Centers (hospitals) in Midland, Alma, Gladwin and Clare; Health Parks (outpatient centers) in Mt. Pleasant, Freeland, West Branch (opening in October) and Houghton Lake; nursing homes in Midland and Gladwin; urgent care centers in Midland, Alma, Clare and Freeland; home care services (including hospice) and physicians and advanced level practitioners throughout the region. It was recognized by Thomson Reuters in the top 20 percent of health systems in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

More at www.midmichigan.org/about or www.med.umich.edu.

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