Our view: Potential merger is a good move

May 10, 2013

Today’s announcement by Memorial Medical Center of its intention to merge with Spectrum Health is exciting news for our area. While, in this day and age, large corporate take-overs of smaller companies seem to be taking away our identities and can often compromise customer service, we believe health care may be an exception.

Modern advances in health care have extended our lives, cured diseases and made us, overall, healthier. But, the costs of doing so are high. Merging with a nationally-recognized system like Spectrum Health will connect Mason County to hundreds of doctors and technology that Memorial Medical Center just can’t afford.

For over 100 years our area has been served by a locally-operated hospital. Paulina Stearns started a hospital on North Washington Avenue in Ludington in the early 1900s. That hospital, at the corner of Third Street, served our forefathers for many decades. Later, a newer Paulina Stearns Hospital was built across the street. That structure still stands. Many residents of Mason County were born in that hospital. They received, what at the time was the best medical care available. In the mid-1960s a new, modern facility, with a new name, was built on East Ludington Avenue, at the edge of the Ludington city limits. Memorial Medical Center, for over 40 years, has been this area’s hub of health care.

Memorial is the area’s largest employer. Officials from Memorial and Spectrum have both assured the public that jobs will be retained. All jobs. Of course, providing the best health care is top priority, but keeping the people of Mason County employed in all aspects of the hospital is a very close second.

Memorial has provided high quality health care to us for many years and today’s move will assure access to even better care. Bravo to the Memorial board of directors for keeping the best interest of our community in mind.

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