Fremont hospital joins Spectrum Health

April 4, 2010
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Fremont’s Gerber Memorial Health Services will join Spectrum Health as of May 1, the two nonprofit health care organizations announced last week.

Boards of directors of both hospitals approved resolutions to make Gerber Memorial one of Spectrum Health’s community hospitals, along with Kelsey Hospital, Reed City Hospital and United Memorial in Greenville. Spectrum’s two largest hospitals are Blodgett in East Grand Rapids and Butterworth in Grand Rapids.

Terms of the Spectrum-Gerber agreement were not disclosed. The health systems announced in June that they were entering affiliation talks.

“This agreement takes that relationship to a new level by integrating Gerber into Spectrum Health and will enable us to provide a broader, more coordinated array of services to the region,” Matt VanVranken, executive vice president of Spectrum Health and president of Spectrum Health Hospital Group, said in a written statement.

Randall J. Stasik, president and CEO of Newaygo County’s only hospital, said in the same statement that the merger will provide Gerber with a stable base.

“The integration with Spectrum Health provides us with the means to serve our mission, improve quality and meet the needs of our community now and far into the future.”

Gerber Memorial owns the 61-bed hospital in Fremont and also has clinics in Grant and Hesperia, a home health care service, physician offices, a cancer center, rehabilitation services, Women’s Health Services, two personal fitness locations and Tamarac, The Center for Health and Well-Being. It employs 620 people, Executive Director of Community and Government Relations Sandy Siegel said.

Gerber Memorial belongs to the Spectrum Health Regional Hospital Network, which pools purchasing power and shares best practices for quality, patient safety and other topics. It also is a member of the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Partners in Children’s Health.

Stasik and the CFO will remain in their positions at the Fremont hospital, Siegel said. She said that while services such as information technology will be integrated, she expects few if any layoffs.

“We are planning to grow with this change,” she said.

According to the financial statement on its Web site, Gerber Memorial posted a net loss of $4.5 million for the fiscal year that ended in June and $2 million for the 2008 fiscal year. It reported net assets of $25.4 million for fiscal 2009.

The loss represents a combination of unrealized losses and gains on investment, interest rate swaps and discontinued psychiatric services, as well as a $2.5 million loss on operations.

Spectrum Health, which employs 16,000, reported an overall loss of 2 percent for the fiscal year that ended in June, including unrealized losses and gains in investments and swaps. However, the operating margin was in positive territory by 4 percent, or $106.7 million.

Operating revenue was $2.68 billion, with health coverage provider Priority Health accounting for $1.39 billion.

Gerber currently self-insures for health insurance for its work force, Siegel said.

Spectrum Health and Munson Healthcare in January announced the launch of the process to bring the Traverse City health care provider under the Spectrum umbrella. Spectrum also is currently in talks with Northern Michigan Regional Health System in Petoskey and Mecosta County Medical Center in Big Rapids.

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