BCHS, Bronson to Form New Regional Health Care System

December 14, 2010

Battle Creek Health System today announced the selection of Bronson as its new partner. The two have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to develop a new regional health care system. The LOI provides a framework for the partnership and begins the formal process of creating the operating model for merging the two organizations.

The vision for the partnership is to create a health care system that delivers better coordination of care for patients throughout Southwest Michigan.

"For the past 18 months, BCHS trustees, including Trinity Health, physician and executive leaders have been engaged in a thoughtful, strategic review of our marketplace and the future of health care services," said Neil Nyberg, chair of the BCHS Community Partners board of trustees. "Throughout this process, the goal was to assure that the very best health care is available in our community, a commitment Bronson also shares."

BCHS chose Bronson based upon a number of factors including:

  • a shared dynamic vision of a coordinated, regional system that works better for patients,
  • Bronson's commitment to continuously improve the patient experience, its national reputation for quality, and the breadth and depth of specialty and sub-specialty services it provides in this region, and
  • common core values that include a long-standing commitment to community governance and a mission to ensure quality care is available to all persons regardless of their ability to pay.

According to Nelson Karre, chair of the BCHS board of trustees, "Bronson's national reputation for quality and high level regional services such as the children's hospital, heart care, neurosurgery, and critical care make it an outstanding ‘fit' with what we offer in Battle Creek. In addition, as our boards discussed a partnership, we found mutual intentions that will go a long way toward guiding our actions together into the future."

Bronson President and CEO Frank J. Sardone said, "This partnership with BCHS will enable Bronson to take our longstanding commitment to quality to an even higher level. Working together for the greater good of our patients will help us achieve optimal use and coordination of health care resources regionally. That means better meeting our patients' needs by providing the right care in the right place at the right time. By maximizing the clinical strengths of each organization, we expect to create a regional health care system that delivers a superior patient experience at all points of care."

"The Bronson board of directors enthusiastically endorses this partnership and the many ways it will bring to life our vision for enhancing health care services in the region," says Barbara James, chair of the Bronson board of directors. "We also hope this announcement marks the coming together of not just two health systems, but two communities. From our perspective, that is a legacy we can all be proud of."

Bronson will become the ‘operating partner' of the new regional system by purchasing 51% of BCHS. Specifically, Bronson will purchase the 50% share held by Trinity Health - and 1% of the BCHS Community Partners holdings. Community Partners will join the Bronson board of directors resulting in a more regionally focused board.

During the coming months, legal, operational, and strategic work on the new partnership will get underway and afford opportunities to engage employees, medical staffs, and communities in discussion about the new regional system.

Depending upon the pace of due diligence and subject to final legal and regulatory approvals, the proposed new system could be operational as early as the middle of 2011. Until then, both organizations will continue to operate as they have been, but will report on major milestones as they occur.

"Patients across Southwest Michigan will be the real winners, as BCHS and Bronson work together to develop an efficient, effective, high-quality health care system that improves care and makes our region even stronger," concludes Denise Brooks-Williams, BCHS president and CEO. "We very much appreciate Bronson's commitment to partner with us to improve and grow services in Battle Creek. This is a win-win for all involved, especially our patients and their families."

# # #