DETROIT (WWJ) — Flint’s McLaren Health Care will take over the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit.

And the Detroit Medical Center isn’t happy about it.

In a statement, Karmanos president and CEO Gerold Bepler called the move “tremendous news for Karmanos Cancer Institute, its patients and the thousands of individuals and families impacted by cancer in Michigan. By joining forces with McLaren, this agreement strengthens our ability to provide exceptional cancer care and furthers our commitment to cancer research based right here in Detroit.”

But a statement released by the DMC reads “We are disappointed in the Karmanos decision. DMC’s focus is on Detroit and our patients, and making cancer care available at the highest level.”

And DMC CEO Joe Mullany told Crain’s Detroit Business that the deal will be “detrimental to cancer care in Detroit.” He said DMC will now explore other oncology affiliations. Efforts by WWJ to contact Mullany for comment Wednesday night were unsuccessful.

Crain’s also reported unidentified sources at Wayne State University were opposed to the deal. Karmanos has nearly 300 doctors and researchers on the faculty of the Wayne State School of Medicine. Contacted by WWJ, Wayne State Director of Communications Matt Lockwood said the school has “no comment at this time.”

Under the deal, Karmanos Cancer Institute will become a member of the nonprofit McLaren system. Both the Karmanos Cancer Institute and the Karmanos Cancer Center, which provides cancer patient care, will retain their names, remain as separate legal entities, maintain their assets and continue reporting to their current boards, McLaren said.

McLaren also promised an unspecified but “substantial capital investment over a multi-year period to assist with capital upgrades at Karmanos facilities and to fund clinical trials, basic and translational research programs.”

Karmanos has an annual budget of $260 million and is conducting more than 700 cancer-specific scientific programs and clinical trials. It is one of only 41 nationally designated comprehensive cancer centers. The only other in Michigan is the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center in Ann Arbor.

McLaren has 10 hospitals and other ambulatory surgery centers, imaging centers, the state’s only proton therapy center, the state’s largest network of cancer centers and providers, an employed primary care physician network, assisted living centers, commercial and Medicaid HMOs, home health care and hospice, durable medical equipment, retail pharmacy services, and a wholly owned medical malpractice insurance company.

In November 2012, Crain’s reported that Karmanos projected $40 million in losses over the next 10 years because of Medicare reimbursement cuts. Karmanos has already moved to cut costs and sold its hospice program last year.


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