By Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
With an eye toward providing more medical services and increasing health care options in West Michigan, Metro Health this week officially announced that the affiliation process with the University of Michigan Health System has been completed.
In June, Metro Health and UMHS signed a letter of intent for an affiliation. In September, both institutions approved the affiliation agreement with final regulatory approvals needed. More announcements about the affiliation and its impact are expected in the new year.
“We are a sister organization to them,” said Ellen Bristol, Metro Health director of internal communications and media relations. “Our governance will be by the University of Michigan regents, but we are still Metro Health. It means our employees are still Metro Health employees and U-M employees are still U-M employees.”
Physicians, executives and community members from West Michigan will continue serving on Metro Health boards and committees, working closely with University of Michigan leaders.
“The new affiliation will offer greater access to U-M services and physicians,” Bristol said. “There will be more choices offered and the hospital is able to deepen its services.”
U-M and Metro Health began working together in 2009 when U-M started providing radiation oncology at The Cancer Center at Metro Health Village. Clinical relations continued to develop in pediatric cardiology and pediatric endocrinology, all of which helped to pave the way for the affiliation, said Marschall Runge, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for medical affairs, dean of the U-M Medical School and CEO of the U-M Health System.
“We are excited to further expand U-M services in West Michigan and to provide access to the highest quality care available to more Michigan residents,” Runge said. “Working together, we will improve the health of our patients and our communities.”
Metro Health President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Faas said the affiliation marks a new chapter in Metro Health’s history, “one that builds on the incredible legacy which began in 1942 when 23 osteopathic physicians opened Grand Rapids Osteopathic Hospital. I can think of no better way to honor our founders than to ensure Metro Health is able to to grow and continue serving patients of years to come.”