Health Care

Health care organizations turn eye toward the sky

September 4, 2014
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Spectrum Health and Munson Healthcare, a regional system serving northern lower Michigan and eastern upper Michigan, announced the exploration of a collaborative partnership to enhance the critical care emergency air transportation available in northern Michigan. Courtesy Spectrum Health

Two Michigan health care systems are exploring a partnership to improve accessibility and air transportation for critical care patients with the signing of a letter of intent today and the launch of a due diligence process.

Spectrum Health, the nonprofit health system headquartered in Grand Rapids, and Munson Healthcare, a regional system serving northern lower Michigan and eastern Upper Michigan, announced Sept. 4 the exploration of a collaborative partnership to enhance the critical care emergency air transportation available in northern Michigan with the signing of a non-binding letter of intent.

The potential collaboration would include Aero Med’s Big Rapids operations, and the Traverse City-based North Flight EMS Air Division. With the signing of the LOI, a due diligence process will launch to enable both Spectrum and Munson to research and analyze medical air operations existing in the northern region of the state.

Richard C. Breon, president and chief executive officer at Spectrum Health, said in the era of health care reform, all health organizations are looking to become more efficient while ensuring excellent patient care.

“North Flight and Aero Med both have a strong tradition in serving our regions,” said Breon in the release. “We’re confident this collaboration will result in enhanced service and access, along with maintaining a quality program for the people of northern Michigan.”

Ed Ness, president and chief executive officer of Munson Healthcare, said the collaboration will enable continued quality service. North Flight Air has served northern Michigan residents for 28 years.

“We believe this collaboration is the best way to ensure high quality air EMS service continues to be available to the people of northern Michigan for years to come,” said Ness.

The Grand Rapids-based Spectrum Health and Traverse City-based Munson Healthcare both have emergency air transport services in operation in northern Michigan with North Flight and Aero Med’s location in Big Rapids.

The organizations believe a partnership resulting in a collaborative Traverse City base would provide enhanced services and accessibility; improved operational, financial and service efficiency; improved capacity and increased combined service area; and enhanced education and training for crews.

With the collaborative operation in Traverse City, Aero Med would also continue to serve West Michigan through its location at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, according to the press release.

As part of the due diligence process, the viability of the collaboration will be under consideration and the anticipated completion date of the process is during 2015.

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