Henry Ford Health announced Wednesday that it has signed an agreement to join Ascension Michigan and Genesys to create a $10.5 billion health system headquartered in Detroit with 13 acute care hospitals, about 50,000 employees and more than 550 regional health care sites.
“Together we can expand health care services and deliver innovations in care — from prevention and early detection to treatment of complex conditions — to more people and communities across our state, including those most at risk,” said Robert Rennie, president and CEO of the Foundation. Henry Ford Health in a statement. “We share an inherent commitment to providing world-class health care that everyone deserves, regardless of geographic, demographic or socioeconomic status.”
The agreement is described as neither a merger nor an acquisition. Instead, Henry Ford Health says it is a joint venture that involves no cash exchange. The deal must undergo regulatory review, but leaders of Henry Ford Health and Ascension Michigan hope to close the deal by the summer.
Rainey will lead the organization, which will remain headquartered in Detroit and carry the Henry Ford Health name and brand. It will be governed by a board of directors that includes representatives from both Henry Ford Health and Ascension Michigan. At least for the time being, the Catholic identity of Ascension Michigan facilities will continue.
Details are few about the proposed deal, which may face regulatory challenges
Neither Henry Ford Health nor Ascension Michigan granted the Free Press an interview with any of the leaders who negotiated the agreement. They also did not answer nearly two dozen questions about how the union of these health systems would affect the hundreds of thousands of patients they treat or their employees.
Henry Ford spokesperson Dana Jay said only: “We look forward to addressing more details about this joint venture in the future; the press release and fast fact materials contain what we can share at this time.”
- Who will own the newly merged health system.
- When will the Henry Ford trademark be applied to Ascension Michigan properties?
- How prices for services and insurance coverage in hospitals may be affected.
- Whether there will be layoffs or site closures as a result of the deal or how existing trade unions will be affected.
- What market share can this combined health system gain in the region?
The answer to this last question is likely to be of great interest to federal and state regulators, who will review the terms of the deal and determine whether they comply with antitrust laws.
In 2021, President Biden He issued an executive order Directs the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice to reevaluate and tighten federal rules for mergers and acquisitions, including those related to health care, to prevent monopolies and business deals that would limit market competition.
The federal government has blocked Utah-New Jersey mergers in 2022
While hospital leaders often say that mergers can help them cut costs, drive innovation, and provide greater access to care, Multiple research studies It has shown that hospital mergers can lead to higher prices for consumers and also lead to lower quality of care by reducing competition within the market. It can also reduce access to care and lead to layoffs and reduced wages.
In July, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission New draft guidelines issuedThis would prohibit mergers that increase concentration in highly concentrated markets or eliminate significant competition between companies.
If the combined Henry Ford Health/Ascension Michigan deal passes regulatory muster, there will still be five broad competitors in Southeast Michigan: Corwell Health, Detroit Medical Center, Trinity Health, McLaren Healthcare and University of Michigan Health.
Ascending faces losses and sells hospitals
Many health systems across the United States are struggling financially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and amid staffing shortages and record levels of inflation. Labor and supply costs are rising while reimbursement for Medicare and Medicaid remains stagnant.
Ascension, headquartered in St. Louis, Announced an operating loss Valued at $3 billion in fiscal 2023, it is selling several of its holdings, including seven subsidiary hospitals that were part of the Milwaukee-based Ministry of Health Care, which were sold to Aspirus Health.
When hospitals merge or are acquired to form larger health systems, they have more leverage when it comes to negotiating prices to obtain higher reimbursements from insurers and lower prices from suppliers.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan President and CEO Daniel J. Loeb’s following statement on Wednesday, which read in part: “Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is proud of our long-term partnership with Henry Ford Health and Ascension to promote better outcomes and experiences for patients, while continuing to address high-quality care and affordability through on-the-go reimbursements.” basis of value.”
Henry Ford, boarding has different values
Many other questions remain about how the combined health system will operate, including how it will manage their differences when it comes to reproductive health care and treatment of LGBTQ+ patients and staff.
Ascension is a non-profit Catholic hospital system committed to Ethical and religious directives for Catholic health care services The service was created by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Holly Fournier, associate director of communications for the Archdiocese of Detroit, told the Free Press in a previous interview.
The guidelines are based on the Catholic Church’s teachings that life begins at conception and that sexual intercourse is a sacred act of procreation. The instructions prohibit the use of contraceptives, sterilization procedures, abortion, and in-vitro fertilization.
The guidance also impacts LGBTQ+ care, something Henry Ford has long promoted, Pledge on her website It is “committed to providing safe and equitable care for all and supporting people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community with their health care needs.”
Henry Ford offers sex reassignment surgeries and gender confirmation hormone therapy and has a PRIDE employee resource group.
Neither Henry Ford nor Ascension have answered questions about whether the Archdiocese of Detroit or the U.S. Conference on the Moral and Religious Directives of Catholic Bishops will play any role in determining how LGBTQ+ care and reproductive health care will be offered/delivered at Ascension properties.
The following Ascension Southeast Michigan and Genesys healthcare properties will be included in the deal:
- Ascension St. John’s Hospital
- Ascension River District Hospital
- Ascension Genesis Hospital
- Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital, Madison Heights Campus
- Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital, Warren Campus
- Providence Ascension Hospital, Novi Campus
- Ascension Brighton Recovery Centre
- Ascension Providence Hospital, Southfield Campus
- Ascension Hospital Providence Rochester
The following Henry Ford hospitals and other assets, including the Alliance Health Plan, will also be included as part of the joint venture:
- Henry Ford Hospital
- Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital
- Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital
- Henry Ford Kingswood Hospital
- Henry Ford Macomb Hospital
- Henry Ford Jackson Hospital
Ascension Southwestern and North Ascension Hospitals will remain part of Ascension National’s holdings and will continue to provide Catholic health care:
- Ascension Borges Hospital
- Ascension Burgess Allegan Hospital
- Ascension Borges Lee Hospital
- Ascension Borges Pep Hospital
- Assumption Hospital Saint Joseph
- Ascension St. Mary’s Hospital
- Ascension Standish Hospital
Contact Christine Shamus: [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @kristenshamus.
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