UPDATE: Hospital exploring partnerships

October 3, 2012

Mason County Press first reported this story Tuesday night, based on information sent to us from a reliable source. Here is the hospital’s official statement:
LUDINGTON — Memorial Medical Center’s board of directors has voted to explore partnership options with larger, integrated healthcare systems.
“Given the rapidly changing healthcare industry, the board believes it is our responsibility to explore all options to better meet the healthcare needs of our community,” said Al Deering, board chairman. “Our sole purpose is to preserve MMC as a viable healthcare provider for future generations.”
The hospital has hired Juniper Advisory LLC of Chicago to advise MMC on possible partnerships. The firm is a leading consultant to non-profit hospitals on potentially beneficial partnerships in an era of accelerating consolidation. Juniper is scheduled to complete its work during 2013 and present the board with options for them to consider.
“When the process is completed,” Deering added, “MMC’s Board may decide that the process has identified an ideal partner that will allow us to serve the community even better, or they may decide that it’s better to continue operating as an independent healthcare facility.”
Deering said that Memorial is in good financial condition. “We believe now, when we’re strong, is the right time to look for partners. To do so if we were in trouble would not be advantageous for the hospital or the community.
“MMC will keep the community apprised of our progress while evaluating opportunities for possible partnerships.”
Deering added that the entire Memorial Medical Center executive team supported the board’s action.

Statement issued by the Memorial Medical Center board of directors:

Our role as board members is to work together with the community to preserve MMC and its healthcare role for future generations of West Michigan residents and to provide the types of healthcare necessary to meet the needs of the communities we serve.

Since 2010, the board of directors of Memorial Medical Center has closely monitored the increasing demands and complexity of healthcare, as well as the regulatory changes that affect our operations. These include access to insurance coverage, the continuing management of electronic medical records, physician integration, and a broad new responsibility for population health in the communities around us.

The board has recognized the trends of declining reimbursement, consolidation and restructuring of both hospitals and physician practices and an industry that has grown more specialized, complex and challenging each year. We have studied the early impact of these changes and believe that the experts are right – there will be unavoidable rising costs and diminishing reimbursement for services.

Given our responsibility to position MMC to realize its fullest potential to meet the healthcare needs of the people we serve, we have concluded that exploring relationships with other, larger providers is in the best interests of the community. A systematic approach to this exploration, which will be provided by Juniper Advisory LLC, is important if we are to make any progress.

We anticipate the process of examining alternatives to be complete in 2013. We may find a great solution or decide that we’re better suited to move forward on our own, but the systematic approach offered by Juniper will make certain that no stone is left unturned and that our options here in Ludington and surrounding communities are fully understood.

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