Hospital Merger Advances
MUSKEGON — The Federal Trade Commission’s decision to allow the merger of Mercy General and Hackley hospitals to proceed is a reflection of strong community backing for the proposal, their lawyer said last week.
“There’s very strong support through every element of the community for this transaction,” said David Ettinger of Honigman Miller Schwartz & Cohn in
The FTC, which unsuccessfully challenged the merger of Butterworth and Blodgett hospitals in Grand Rapids in 1997 and successfully intervened to halt a merger in Port Huron in 1995, does not comment about hospital merger applications. Under the Hart-Scott-Rondino Act, the agency did not act in the 30 days following the
Ettinger said he believes hospital competition in
“These hospitals compete in a broad regional market,” he said. “They depend on patients from
“If you’re looking at, will there be competition after the transaction, there will be lots of competition.”
Grand Rapids-based health care consultant Michael LaPenna said he believes the
“Those hospitals in
Jim Fisher, president of Shoreline Recycling, a division of Holland-based Louis Padnos Iron & Metal Co., said the business community needs a strong, local health care system in
“Our economic development is based on the solid companies in
Today, medical schools produce more specialists than pri
“The dollars are with specialty care right now, and so if you say we are structured as a primary care, non-specialty hospital, you just told me you are broke. You need cardiac care, oncology and orthopedics to stay in that community if you are going to keep those facilities viable.”
Eagle Alloy Inc. Vice President John Workman said he thinks the merger will allow the hospitals to have “efficiencies of scale” that will produce strong specialty centers. Workman also was a member of the Unified Health Care Task Force.
“For both to have cancer, both to have heart, is not good value,” Workman said. “This way they can focus attention on one unit and give a better product to the community.”
Mercy General was created 10 years ago by another merger. Since 2000, it has been owned by Novi-based Trinity Health, a Catholic system that owns 30 hospitals, including Saint Mary’s Health Care in
Modern Healthcare reported that Moody’s Investors Service in March “downgraded Hackley’s rating on $18.6 million in debt to Baa2 with a negative outlook.”
Muskegon Mercy General spokeswoman
Still, Fisher said it’s not all about the dollars.
“I think from a business owners’ standpoint, the ability to have one efficient hospital will help to stem the tide of the costs, but I think this is an issue of service more than anything else,” Fisher said. “Right now, our people get good care. We need to think in the long term. But in the short term, we don’t want to lose anything because one or another of the hospitals ends up being in serious financial trouble.”