Munson Healthcare to buy CHE Trinity hospitals

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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Munson Healthcare said Wednesday it has reached an agreement to purchase two northern Michigan hospitals it already had been operating in a bid to streamline administration and improve patient care.

Traverse City-based Munson said it will buy Mercy Hospital Cadillac and Mercy Hospital Grayling, along with Mercy Manor long-term care facility in Grayling and the affiliated Mercy Home Care and Hospice services in Cadillac, Grayling and Houghton Lake. Munson Healthcare spokesman Dale Killingbeck said financial terms were still under discussion.

The Cadillac and Grayling hospitals are owned by CHE Trinity Health of Livonia, but Munson has operated both for 11 years. Munson said shared management has enabled the institutions to recruit top doctors and establish best practices for emergencies such as heart attacks and strokes while reducing costs for electronic records and purchasing.

"As the next practical step in our partnership, we have signed this agreement to ensure we can continue to meet the health care needs of the people of Cadillac and Grayling long into the future," said Ed Ness, president and CEO of Munson Healthcare. "This purchase will make patient care even more effective and efficient in these communities, and will bring a new level of collaboration and coordination of services across the Munson Healthcare system."

New ownership will reduce the administrative complexity resulting from being owned by one system and managed by another, officials said.

They said leaders from both hospitals and health systems will cooperate on seeking government and corporate approval and will host community meetings to explain the changes.

"All hospitals involved serve a large rural population with significant distances between communities," said John MacLeod, retiring CEO of the Cadillac hospital. "This makes it critical for health care providers to work together."

Munson Healthcare is a nonprofit network of eight hospitals and eight related organizations serving 24 counties in the northern Lower Peninsula and eastern Upper Peninsula. CHE Trinity Health is the nation's second-largest Catholic health care system, with facilities in 20 states. Munson has more than 5,000 employees and its institutions combined had more than 33,000 patient visits last year.

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