Beaumont, Henry Ford looking to merge into $6.4B health system - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Beaumont, Henry Ford looking to merge into $6.4B health system

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Beaumont CEO Gene Michalski and Nancy Schlichting, CEO of Henry Ford Health System shake hands during a news conference Wednesday. Beaumont CEO Gene Michalski and Nancy Schlichting, CEO of Henry Ford Health System shake hands during a news conference Wednesday.

By Amy Lange
Fox 2 News Reporter


ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WJBK) -- Their commercials are everywhere and so are their facilities -- ten hospitals, 200 patient care offices, 7,000 physicians and a total of 40,000 employees.  Now Beaumont and Henry Ford are looking to merge those assets into a new, $6.4 billion health system.

"We have a crisis in this country when it comes to healthcare.  We know we have a Medicare tsunami coming with the growth of the aging population.  We know we have a lot of opportunity to manage that care better," said Nancy Schlichting, CEO of Henry Ford Health System.

"These are both strong health systems.  We didn't have to partner.  We chose to partner," said Gene Michalski, president and CEO of Beaumont Health System.

The two health systems announced they have signed a letter of intent many months in the making to form a new system that shifts the focus from not only healing the sick, but to preventing sickness, keeping communities healthy.

So what does that mean for you as a patient?

"There should be no impact on patients, certainly, in terms of their access to care.  If anything, over time it's going to improve," Schlichting said.

A vast network with more doctors, more research and more resources.  Patients' electronic medical records available at every facility, though it's not clear if all of the facilities would remain in their current configurations.

"Certainly in the short run we're not anticipating any closure of facilities," Schlichting remarked.

She says the immediate focus would be on the supply chain -- lowering costs and improving customer service.  It's not clear how that could impact the 40,000 people employed by the two health systems if they become one.

"So both organizations continue to grow.  We're both growing," Michalski said.  "We're trying to grow jobs in Southeast Michigan."

Both systems would retain their medical school affiliations -- Henry Ford with Wayne State and Beaumont with Oakland University.

"It's a win-win not only for our physicians, but also for the community at large," said Beaumont Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ananias Diokno.

"At the end of everything, we always say what are we here for?  We're here for a community mission.  We're here to benefit the community, and the patient is the center of all we do," said Beaumont Board Chairman Steve Howard.

The two health systems plan to have a definitive agreement ready within the first half of 2013.

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