Published in Health Care
Legislature passes bill making it easier for community hospitals to sell to private companies COURTESY PHOTO

Legislature passes bill making it easier for community hospitals to sell to private companies

BY Wednesday, June 15, 2022 05:33pm

Legislation clearing an easier path for North Ottawa Community Health System to possibly merge into Trinity Health has cleared the Legislature and now awaits Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signature.

The state Senate today unanimously passed House Bill 5876, which cleared the state House in late April on a 76-23 vote.

If signed into law, the measure would eliminate the need for a second public vote to approve the sale or transfer of a community hospital or health system that previously went through a voter-approved transfer from a public authority to a private, nonprofit corporation.

After local legislators introduced the bill in March, North Ottawa Community and Livonia-based Trinity Health Michigan signed a non-binding letter of intent to examine the feasibility of a merger.

Due diligence between Trinity Health and the Grand Haven health system continues, according to North Ottawa.

“NOCHS and other small and mid-sized hospitals around the state are having to rethink how we position our health systems to remain accessible for our patients,” North Ottawa said in a statement to MiBiz. “We are grateful for our legislators’ understanding of the issues and for their work to help remove redundant barriers that keep hospitals from making critical business decisions. We are pleased that the proposed legislation is now making its way to the governor.”

More than two-thirds of Grand Haven-area voters in 1996 approved transferring North Ottawa to a private, nonprofit corporation. Under the existing law, North Ottawa would have to go through another public vote to again sell or lease the hospital.

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