Saint Joseph Mercy Health System buys IHA physician group

Saint Joseph Mercy Health System and IHA, a physician group practice, will be merging as part of a larger plan to develop a new integrated health network, according to a press release. Both entities are based in Ann Arbor, Mich. The deal is just the latest in a spate of hospital systems snapping up physician practices as part of their strategy to prosper under healthcare reform by preparing for changes in healthcare delivery and financing.

"Our merger with IHA will create an integrated organization that will proactively advance clinical integration, patient-centered care, and community health," Rob Casalou, St. Joseph Mercy's president and CEO, said in a statement.

The merger will go into effect by Dec. 31 at the latest and create one of the largest integrated health networks in Michigan.

Saint Joseph Mercy is one of the largest healthcare systems in Michigan with 1,726 beds, seven hospitals, and more than 25 specialty centers. It employs more than 14,000 people and boasts a medical staff of nearly 2,700. The system is a member of Trinity Health, a non-for-profit health system that is one of Michigan's largest employers.

IHA's physician group practice includes more than 150 doctors and 40 nurse practitioners in 32 practices with more than 250,000 active patients.

The merger comes as Saint Joseph Mercy Health System actively reconfigures its network, according to the Livingston Daily. The system cut its family birth center at one hospital and eliminated the inpatient unit at another hospital in July.

In other developments, IHA, SJMHS and parent company Trinity Health of Novi, Mich., are also working on affiliation and joint ventures with the University of Michigan Health System. Trinity Health aims to collaborate on pediatrics, medical education and improving patient-centered primary and specialty care services.

To learn more:
- read the press release from IHA and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System
- read the Detroit News article
- here's the Livingston Daily article

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