MIDLAND, Mich. and ANN ARBOR, Mich., Aug. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- MidMichigan Health and the University of Michigan Health System have announced plans to affiliate as clinical and business partners.
When complete, this will be the first such affiliation outside Southeast Michigan by UMHS. The affiliation would align the two health systems' clinical services and physicians for the benefit of residents throughout the region. Final details about the proposed affiliation are expected to be worked out during the next few months.
The affiliation is intended to expand access and enhance the level of care provided in the multi-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. These UMHS providers would support and complement MidMichigan's current physician base.
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.
MidMichigan Health physicians and patients have demonstrated a long-time preference for UMHS specialty care, and MidMichigan physicians have a history of working closely with UMHS specialists. The affiliation would enable MidMichigan Health to have a greater depth of clinical expertise that is more readily available to people in the communities served by MidMichigan.
In addition, 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," says 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."
"The University of Michigan Health System is the preferred choice of our patients and physicians for advanced clinical care and expertise," said MidMichigan physician J. Christopher Hough, M.D. "UMHS and MidMichigan Health have complementary interests and common goals. UMHS is internationally known for quality and the depth of care they provide. MidMichigan Health has an excellent base of primary care providers and physician specialists. However, we need to improve our access to care locally, in this region, so more people can get the care they need without enduring the difficulty of frequent and extended travel while ill."
"The role of physicians from both U-M and MidMichigan in shaping the specifics of this affiliation will be crucial to its success," says David Spahlinger, M.D., executive director of the U-M Medical School's Faculty Group Practice. "As we move forward into the next phase of development, we will engage on many fronts to ensure a fruitful partnership."
Throughout the U.S., health systems are seeking affiliations and alignment with other health systems and physician groups in order to prepare for new insurance payment models that require high quality care for large populations of people.
MidMichigan Health and UMHS will be prepared for new federal and state programs, such as the creation of accountable care organizations (ACOs) that incentivize health systems to provide better and more coordinated care for entire populations of patients while minimizing the cost of care.
The University of Michigan Health System is a national leader in advanced patient care, innovative research to improve human health and comprehensive education of physicians and medical scientists. UMHS includes the U-M Hospitals & Health Centers, which treat patients from every county in Michigan as well as from other states and nations. It also includes the U-M 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 in Midland, Alma, Gladwin and Clare; Health Parks 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.
With a base of hospitals and associated services under one affiliation agreement, the two health systems will have a wide range of options for designing new models of care to better serve patients. Learn more about MidMichigan Health at www.midmichigan.org/about . Information about the University of Michigan Health System is available at www.med.umich.edu.
SOURCE University of Michigan Health System