Saints and Partners to create new medical system

August 13, 2011
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Saint Mary’s Health Care in Grand Rapids and Mercy Health Partners in Muskegon announced their intentions last week to create a new health care system in West Michigan. The system will have multiple locations throughout West Michigan and will be known as Mercy Health.

Officials from both systems said Mercy Health will offer more patient services, better communication with patients and providers, and easier access to specialists. They said the new structure will lead to a better coordination of care.

“We are already known for our commitment to care that is centered on the patient. Coming together as a system will enable us to work more closely together to deliver even better service for our patients and an experience that’s right for them,” said Phillip McCorkle, president and CEO of Saint Mary’s Health Care.

The decision to create the new regional system surfaced after both hospitals discussed it as a proposal and then reviewed market research that revealed a “unique opportunity” existed for the two because Saint Mary’s and Mercy Health Partners share the same mission, vision and values.

The new Mercy Health will include all hospitals, outpatient clinical service sites and physician network locations that serve the Grand Rapids metro area and the lakeshore. More than 1,000 physicians and others providers will be part of the new structure.

“This move is really a natural step for Muskegon and Grand Rapids, as the level of cooperation and communication has steadily increased across both organizations over the past two years. As we worked together, we realized how much more we could do for our own patients and our own communities by harnessing our collective strengths,” said Roger Spoelman, regional executive of Mercy Health and president and CEO of Mercy Health Partners.

The new Mercy Health system will be phased in over the next 12 to 24 months. A committee comprised of board members from both hospitals has been developing a plan to outline the strategies that will be used to create the new alignment. The plan is due this fall.

Each organization will retain its own identity, culture, medical staffs, management structure and commitment to the local community.

The new system will include Lacks Cancer Center, Hauenstein Neuroscience Center and The Wege Institute for Mind, Body and Spirit in Grand Rapids, and the Johnson Family Cancer Center in Muskegon.

Spoelman said the Mercy Hospitals in Grayling and in Cadillac will join Mercy Health later this year, and Mercy Health will continue its collaborative efforts and partnership with Munson Healthcare in Northern Michigan.

Mercy Health was selected as the name for the new system because the name “Mercy” has a shared history for the two hospitals.

“Mercy takes us back to the founding of both health care organizations,” said McCorkle. “It reminds us and our communities of the fact that not only do we have expertise in delivering care, but also deliver care with compassion.”

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