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Friday, 10 May 2013 11:02

Spectrum Health signs letter of intent to acquire Ludington's Memorial Medical Center

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Memorial Medical CEO Mark Vipperman Memorial Medical CEO Mark Vipperman

GRAND RAPIDS and LUDINGTON — The next merger for Spectrum Health has emerged: Ludington’s Memorial Medical Center.

The two West Michigan health systems have signed a non-binding letter-of-intent that calls for Memorial Medical Center to work with Spectrum Health on a definitive merger agreement, MiBiz has learned. The 90-day agreement, which is scheduled to be announced this morning, comes after the Ludington hospital started a nationwide search last fall for a potential partner.

The addition of the 73-bed Memorial Medical Center would mark one of the largest additions to the Spectrum Health system, which has acquired a number of community health centers over the years including hospitals in Zeeland, Fremont, Big Rapids, Greenville and Kelsey. 

Directors at Memorial Medical Center unanimously chose to continue discussions exclusively with Spectrum Health.

“After a thorough evaluation, we believe that joining Spectrum Health is the best possible solution for the communities and people we serve, as well as for our doctors and staff,” said Al Deering, chairman of the board at Memorial Medical Center. “The details will be negotiated over the next few months. Our discussions with Spectrum Health have been very positive and we expect no problems reaching a definitive agreement.”

Either side can break off negotiations at any time, although a statement issued this morning said that both parties view that possibility as “very remote.”

The Ludington hospital would retain a local board of directors, though employees would be employed by Spectrum Health.

Merging with Spectrum will improve Memorial Medical Center’s ability to recruit physicians to Mason County and expand medical services and increase access to medical specialists, Memorial CEO Mark Vipperman said.

“Joining Spectrum Health strengthens this organization for the challenges ahead and will stabilize a health care presence in this part of Michigan for the future,” Vipperman said.

Spectrum Health was one of eight finalists that emerged as a partner after Memorial Medical Center, working with Chicago consulting firm Juniper Advisory LLC, contacted 27 health systems across the county about a possible merger, Vipperman said. After “thoroughly evaluating” all eight, the board of directors opted to choose Spectrum Health with which to work out a merger, he said.

In an exclusive interview with MiBiz, Vipperman cited a cultural fit between the two and Spectrum Health’s reputation as a provider of high quality care. Spectrum Health, he said, “provided an outstanding proposal.”

“The brand is one I feel really excited about being associated with,” Vipperman said.

The two health systems are far from strangers. Memorial Medical Center for a decade has been a member of the Spectrum Health Regional Network that does joint purchasing of medical supplies and equipment for members, and it has an affiliation with Spectrum’s Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

“This is a significant step in an excellent working relationship that has existed between our organizations for many years,” Spectrum Health President and CEO Richard Breon said. “The combination of resources and services that will result from the integration will support the mission of both organizations and ensure high quality care in Western Michigan.”

The potential transaction with Memorial comes shortly after Spectrum Health finalized a merger with Mecosta County Medical Center, which will become Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital on July 1.

Read 78927 times Last modified on Friday, 10 May 2013 11:32

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