EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated with comments from Spectrum Health President and CEO Tina Freese Decker. The story has also been clarified to say that the time limit on a federal regulatory review has expired, allowing the merger to move forward.
Spectrum Health and Beaumont Health intend to close their blockbuster merger on Tuesday.
The new health system created through the merger will use the temporary name BHSH System, which will become the largest in-state health system based in Michigan. The new system will have 22 hospitals with more than 5,000 licensed beds, more than 300 outpatient locations, 11,500 affiliated and employed physicians, 64,000 employees, and revenues exceeding $13 billion.
“We’re focused on transforming health and really striving to achieve greater health equity and trying to create greater value, trying to improve the experience and the culture,” Spectrum Health President and CEO Tina Freese Decker said in an interview with MiBiz.
“Our focus is on: How do we keep people out of our health system? How do we keep them healthy? How do we put new services in place such as digital services or at-home services so people can take care of their health without needing some of the inpatient, more extensive services that exist,” she said. “I think we can come together to create something that allows us to serve people in our communities in a much better way. We can do this across the state.”
Freese Decker will serve as president and CEO of the new health system. Dr. Daryl Elmouchi will lead BHSH System’s West Michigan operations, a role he’s held under Spectrum Health. Praveen Thadani continues as president of Priority Health.
Spectrum and Beaumont announced today that they are proceeding with the merger after the time limit expired for a Federal Trade Commission antitrust review.
Part of the integration is bringing together the two health systems’ medical personnel in West and Southeast Michigan, and bridging the distinct cultures of each market.
Uniting the two health systems requires that they “forge new relationships, that we listen, we communicate transparently, and we talk about what we want to achieve by coming together. It is cultivating a culture of innovation, inclusion, and integrity as we go forward to transform health,” Freese Decker said. “We have complementary strengths and will be leveraging those complementary strengths to drive the innovation and the creativity and the courage to truly transform health. That’s where I’d like to see our focus and our energy. How do we create something even better going forward?”
Grand Rapids-based Spectrum Health and Southfield-based Beaumont Health announced their plan to merge and create a new health system back in June 2021. Executives initially hoped to proceed with the deal last fall, but the closing was delayed as the Federal Trade Commission took longer than expected to conduct an antitrust review amid a large backlog of merger applications.
Today’s announcement that the merger would close Tuesday also outlined the BHSH’s board and management structure that are made up of directors and executives from both health systems.
Beaumont Health Board Chairperson Julie Fream will chair the board at BHSH System. Sean Welsh, regional president for PNC Bank in Grand Rapids, will serve as vice chairperson.
Spectrum Health executives taking the same leadership roles with the new health system include Chief Financial Officer Matt Cox and Chief Legal Officer David Leonard.
The new health system will search for a president to lead the southeast Michigan operations to succeed Beaumont Health CEO John Fox, who retires at the end of this week.
The merger also creates greater opportunity for Priority Health, the Spectrum-owned health plan that has more than 1 million members statewide.
Priority Health’s chief rival, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, dominates Metro Detroit with a 70 percent market share across all health insurance products, according to an annual market share report issued last fall by the American Medical Association. Health Alliance Plan, owned by Henry Ford Health System, held a 9 percent market share in the Detroit metropolitan statistical area, according to the latest AMA report.
“This allows us to potentially serve more people in Southeast Michigan, but also to create those value-oriented products (and) those innovative products to drive lower cost of care (and) higher quality,” Freese Decker said. “When we have the health plan and the physicians and the hospitals working together, we can really come up with some innovative products and that’s what we’re looking to do.”