Health Care and Human Resources

Health system implements 'flatter' leadership structure

November 19, 2014
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Metro Health facade
Metro Health Hospital's rooftop garden is the second-largest green roof in Michigan. Courtesy Metro Health

A major health system has made several executive leadership changes in advance of its “affiliation” plan, announced in 2013.

Metro Health in Wyoming, an independent health care system, has been working to create and position itself for a strategic partnership with Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems since its announcement to pursue an affiliation in Sept. 2013.

Upon completing the remaining due diligence process, the proposal is subject to review by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, based on common law and statutory authority protecting charitable assets based in Michigan. The review process is anticipated to take up to six months.

Copies of a memo widely distributed anonymously to area media and signed by Michael Faas, president and chief executive officer at Metro Health, indicated the organization has made changes to its executive level management due to the potential CHS merger, which indicated several members either resigned or positions were eliminated.

A copy of a second memo from Faas to the medical staff, dated Nov. 10, indicated a number of “issues among the Senior Management team have manifested themselves,” and a new management structure was formed with better alignment between Metro Health and CHS. The memo also indicated the new structure is “flatter” without the “presence of some familiar names,” and positions were filled by Metro Health professionals on an interim basis.

The Grand Rapids Business Journal attempted to reach Faas, who was not available.

In response to the inquiries regarding possible changes and continued work to a strategic partnership, Ellen Bristol, spokesperson for the health system, said in a written statement the organization is continuing to work with CHS toward an affiliation and is not aware of any issues preventing the partnership from happening.

“We are working to position ourselves for an affiliation that will benefit our community, our patients and our dedicated team. As such, we have done some restructuring at senior leadership levels, and consequently, we received resignations from some individuals,” said Bristol in a written statement. “This is not uncommon when affiliations like this occur, and, as an organization, Metro Health was prepared for these management transitions.”

Other information indicated eight executives were terminated or resigned: chief operating officer, chief financial officer, vice president of human resources, chief nursing officer, chief medical officer, vice president of ancillary services, vice president of risk management and vice president of practice management. The leaked information noted only three executives were terminated, while the rest resigned with severance approval.

“In order to protect individuals’ privacy and out of respect, we do not customarily comment on personnel issues,” said Bristol in the written statement. “The organizational changes in no way impact patient care, and Metro Health is positioned for a smooth and positive transition with CHS. We have a strong, competent leadership team supported by talented and seasoned employees.”

Metro Health hosted a Grand Valley Metropolitan Council meeting on Feb. 20, and Faas provided an update on negotiations with CHS, noting the equity partnership would grant CHS 70 to 80 percent ownership of Metro Health.

The agreement also includes a balanced board of 50 percent existing Metro board members and 50 percent CHS members, which would grant “the community ongoing tremendous say so of future direction,” according to Faas back in February.

Metro Health cited several reasons to pursue the affiliation with CHS: access to financial capital up to $50 to $60 million, increasing market share and economies of scale.

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