“As we came together and talked about this, it was apparent that Tina was right person to carry this organization into the future,” said Julie Fream, who serves as board chair of Beaumont Health and would transition to board chair of the new system. “John will be transitioning from the organization. He will assist during the integration process but at the close he will be leaving.” Freese Decker would have offices in Grand Rapids and Southfield, with leadership teams in both communities. Beaumont’s president and CEO, John Fox, would remain in place to oversee the transition to the new system but would leave the organization thereafter. The new health system would be massive.
The state attorney general’s office has been notified about the proposed merger, she said. Freese Decker would serve as president and CEO of the new health system, which would be led by a 16-member board of directors and is temporarily being called the BHSH System. A final name would be chosen following the completion of the merger, which could close this fall following regulatory approvals, Freese Decker said.
“We have no overlapping markets so we don’t believe there are any regulatory concerns, and if there are some raised, we will address them,” Freese Decker said. “But we believe that this benefits our patients, our team members, and the state of Michigan because of our focus on high quality clinical care.” “Together, we are uniquely positioned to deliver greater value, exceptional care and coverage that’s accessible, equitable and affordable while maintaining our unwavering commitment to local communities in Michigan,” said Tina Freese Decker, Spectrum’s president and CEO.
And in October 2020, Beaumont announced it had abandoned plans to merge with Advocate Aurora Health, which has headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Downers Grove, Illinois. The proposed merger had drawn pushback from employees, donors and community members, according to news reports. When asked about the proposed merger with Spectrum, Fream said “it wasn’t necessary for Beaumont’s survival.” Last July, the Southfield-based health system said in a news release that it had a net loss of $146.7 million during the second quarter of 2020, a “decrease of $355.6 million over the same period in 2019.”
Beaumont Health has faced financial challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic and has explored unsuccessful mergers in the past. Stretching from metro Detroit to Grand Rapids, the BHSH System would operate 22 hospitals and 305 outpatient locations and have more than 64,000 employees. That includes more than 7,500 physicians, more than 3,000 advanced practice providers and more than 15,000 nurses. It would also include Priority Health, a Grand Rapids-based health insurance provider owned by Spectrum.
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