BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — St. Luke’s Hospital has announced plans to merge with McLaren Health Care, a Michigan-based hospital system with 26,000 employees and more than 85,500 network providers.
At a press conference on December 4, officials from both organizations were on hand to announce the plans, which have been in the works for months.
“We are excited to be strengthened by and to help strengthen St. Luke’s presence in Maumee and Perrysburg and the surrounding communities,” said Philip Incarnati, president and CEO of McLaren Health Care
As part of the potential integration, McLaren Health Care plans to invest approximately $120 million in St. Luke’s Hospital to enhance services and strengthen and grow the hospital’s presence in the community. Among the proposed plans is a new cancer center, which would be affiliated with the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and the anchor for McLaren’s cancer centers. In addition, new orthopedic, neuro and spine centers will be added, as will upgrades to hospital infrastructure, such as renovating the intensive care center, surgical suites and more, Incarnati said.
St. Luke’s Hospital president and CEO Dan Wakeman said that it was important to partner with an organization that would continue to allow the hospital to provide quality care.
“Critical to our decision was the framing opportunities that position St. Luke’s to continue to play an important role in delivering essential and expected health services to the community, while providing an attractive environment for our physicians to practice and being an employer of choice,” said Wakeman.
McLaren is a network headquartered in Grand Blanc, Mich., with 14 hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, imaging centers, 490 employed primary and specialty care physicians, commercial and Medicaid HMOs, home health and hospice providers serving Michigan and Indiana.
Wakeman said it was important to merge with an organization that had the capital capabilities needed to implement the hospital’s strategic plans.
“The other thing we were looking for is an organization that could help us attract the talent we’re going to need in the future,” he said. “Reality check is as our staff gets older, we’re going to have to replace key individuals.”
As part of its Graduate Medical Education (GME) program, McLaren maintains academic affiliations with medical schools at Wayne State University, Michigan State University and Central Michigan University. McLar-en’s six GME campuses offer 27 residencies and eight fellowship programs that train over 650 future physicians annually.
“So we’ll be able to tap into those hospitals with McLaren to fill our needs going into the future,” Wakeman said.
In June 2016, St. Luke’s Hospital officially divested from the ProMedica health care system after a five-year court battle between ProMedica and the Federal Trade Commission. Ulti-mately, the court upheld the FTC’s assertion that the merger gave the hospital system too much bargaining influence over reimbursement rates with major health care insurance carriers.
The integration process for a new merger with McLaren should be completed next year after final board and regulatory approvals take place.