Merger will create new Michigan healthcare system

After nearly 18 months at the negotiating table, Battle Creek Health System in Michigan announced it will create a new regional healthcare system with Kalamazoo-based Bronson Healthcare Group, which will hold a majority stake. The two organizations have signed a letter of intent to create the new system, according to an announcement made yesterday.

As one entity, the system will employ 6,500 workers and boast more than 700 hospital beds that treat more than 100,000 patients a year.

After the merger, the system will try to "achieve optimal use and coordination of healthcare resources regionally," Bronson President and CEO Frank Sardone said in a statement. "By maximizing the clinical strengths of each organization, we expect to create a regional healthcare system that delivers a superior patient experience at all points of care."

Bronson will buy 51 percent of Battle Creek by buying the 50 percent share from Trinity Health of Novi, Mich., and 1 percent of the BCHS Community Partner holdings. Bronson will become the operating partner for the new system.

While final legal and regulatory approvals are still pending, the new system could start up as early as June 2011, reports Michigan Live. The medical and professional staffs of each side will stay the same, according to hospital leaders. They do not plan to cut jobs or build anything new in Battle Creek or Kalamazoo.

What's more, the merger will bring complementary systems together and give Battle Creek patients better access to medical subspecialties that are strengths at Bronson, such as advanced neurosurgery and inpatient pediatrics, according to Michigan Live. Bronson likely will enhance Battle Creek's ability to attract and retain specialists, which has been a challenge.

Bronson may take advantage of progress BCHS has made in orthopedic surgery (such a hip and joint replacements), oncology services, and thoracic surgery, utilizing specialized robotics to assist in thoracic procedures.

To learn more:
- here's the announcement from Bronson Health
- read the Michigan Live article
- read the WWMT story