REGION — Otsego Memorial Hospital (OMH) and Munson Healthcare have approved an agreement under which OMH will fully integrate with the health care system.
Gaylord’s hospital joins Munson Healthcare Cadillac Hospital, Munson Healthcare Charlevoix Hospital, Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital, Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital, Munson Medical Center, and Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital as fully integrated hospitals in Munson Healthcare.
The agreement also includes the outpatient clinics and medical practices owned and operated by Otsego Memorial Hospital in Gaylord, Elmira, Indian River and Lewiston.
OMH Board President Mary Sanders said this integration ensures access to quality health services well into the future for residents of the region.
“In reaching a final agreement for full integration, the OMH Board and Munson Healthcare Board remain focused on positioning the hospital for a strong and successful future, ensuring the right mix of close-to-home health care services in Gaylord and surrounding communities for many years to come,” she said. “The delivery of health care continues to change rapidly, and it is becoming critical for hospitals to be tightly integrated into a larger health system to support new accountable care models, requirements for bundled payments, demands for increased coordination of care between providers, and future responsibilities for population health management.”
OMH first affiliated with the Munson Healthcare system in 2006. During the past 10 years, the organizations have worked together to strengthen cardiology and oncology services in Gaylord and throughout OMH’s growing service area. Joint planning and shared physician recruitment activities have allowed OMH and Munson Healthcare to partner, reducing costs and enhancing overall outcomes.
OMH CEO Tom Lemon said over the past several months, teams from both organizations have completed a thorough due diligence process to ensure that each organization had a thorough knowledge and understanding of each other. This included a review of all pertinent information, financial records, real estate documents, equipment lists, clinical practices, building and grounds information, human resource information, and more.
During the coming weeks, these teams will continue to work together to address needed steps to ensure a smooth transition, including seeking government approvals.
“A closing date for the new structure and the beginning of combined operations is expected to be in spring 2018, pending necessary approvals,” Lemon said. “At that time, the hospital’s name will change to Munson Healthcare Otsego Memorial Hospital, reflecting the new level of collaboration and coordination with the health care system.”
Other name changes for medical practices and outpatient clinics owned and operated by OMH will mirror the hospital and include the Munson Healthcare name.
As part of the integration, Munson Healthcare President and CEO Ed Ness said OMH will be able to work more closely with Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital to develop a regional approach to serving patients. A Munson Healthcare East Region will be formed as part of this strategy with Lemon as president of the region in addition to retaining his role as CEO of OMH.
“OMH is a financially and clinically strong organization and a valued partner in the Munson Healthcare system,” Ness said. “Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital is also financially sound and receives high clinical ratings. Now is the time to leverage the strength of both hospitals. Working more closely together for a regional approach is a win-win for both communities.”
For OMH, full integration will create an efficient structure for coordination and governance, and maximize capital and operating resources not readily available to independent hospitals. For Munson Healthcare, full integration will enable the system to better serve patients living in surrounding communities.
Munson Healthcare has also committed to support OMH with several key projects that are either currently underway or planned for the future. These projects include renovation and expansion of the medical/surgical unit to primarily private rooms, and conversion to a single electronic health record for both OMH and medical group practices. Both significant endeavors will increase access and enhance the patient experience at OMH.
As part of the agreement, the OMH Foundation will continue to fundraise to benefit the hospital and its programs and services in Gaylord and surrounding communities. All donations will continue to be used as intended by the donor.
“That has always been the case and will not change,” Lemon said. “That is our commitment to the community and to our donors.”
The OMH Foundation will also continue the current $4 million capital campaign to renovate and expand the hospital’s emergency department, surgical services and ambulatory care areas. The expansion will bring additional space to house new technology and enhanced privacy and safety for patients. Construction on the expansion and renovation began this past summer.
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