Niles area medical facilities mergePublished 10:25am Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Like lawmakers across the country, Michigan members of Congress and the Senate continue to work through the process of making health care reform a reality.
While the work continues in Washington, two of southwest Michigan’s notable health care institutions announced last week a join of forces in an attempt to provide increased services to patients throughout the area.
Lakeland HealthCare and Southwestern Medical Clinic will combine their respective organizations, a move they’ve been discussing for the past 18 months, according to the announcement made Wednesday.
“Across the nation, our industry faces increasing costs, decreasing reimbursements and increasing numbers of uninsured patients,” Dan Hopp, chairman of the Lakeland HealthCare board of directors, said in the statement. “In this changing health care environment, it is vital that Lakeland HealthCare and its medical staff examine ways to align their directions, goals, processes and procedures.”
The two medical facilities believe that by coming together and creating “hospital-physician alignment” results will amount to better quality of service and lower costs to patients.
Southwestern Medical Clinic holds a facility in Niles on South 11th Street and Lakeland Hospital, on St. Joseph Street in Niles.
The hospital, which operates as a “non-profit, community-owned health system” consists of “three hospitals, an outpatient surgery center, rehabilitation, long-term care, hospice and home care services.”
The hospital employs more than 3,300. Southwestern Medical Clinic, P.C. is a “multi-specialty medical practice,” with 70 physicians who work along with 25 specialty providers.
“We are excited about the opportunity to join together with an outstanding health system,” Warren C. White, Jr., administrator of Southwestern Medical Clinic, P.C., said. “The integration will be a natural extension of the strong relationship Southwestern Medical Clinic and Lakeland HealthCare have had for the past 40 years.”
Together, the two facilities plan to streamline their practices and even hope to see their patients receive enhanced quality care as well as more efficient care.
The two organizations are hoping to utilize electronic medical records, which would allow for easier sharing of patient information within the unified health care facility. It is unknown just how immediate the results of the merge of the two organizations will be visible to patients.
“Lakeland and Southwestern Medical Clinic each have a long tradition of putting patients, and the community, first,” John Froggatt, III, MD, president at Southwestern Medical Clinic, P.C., said. “Southwest Michigan families can be confident that they will continue to have access to the best possible health services, close to home.”
So far, details have yet to be revealed just how the unification of Lakeland HealthCare and Southwestern Medical Clinic will play out, but optimism and hope are evident for the move’s overall success.