Dowagiac, Corewell Health reach lease agreement for Donald Lyons Health Center

Published 5:00 am Friday, December 15, 2023

DOWAGIAC — Dowagiac area residents will soon have more health care options to choose from.

The Dowagiac City Council unanimously approved a resolution to complete a lease agreement with Corewell Health for the first floor of the Donald Lyons Health Center, 520 Main St. 

“The opportunity to have another health care provider in the community is just outstanding,” said Mayor Don Lyons. “Healthcare is always such an important component of any community. Whether it’s very personal-level health care or the overall level of assurance that health care will continue in the future, they represent an excellent opportunity and I’m delighted they’re going to be here.”

Corewell Health is a not-for-profit health system that provides health care and coverage with a team of more than 60,000 people – including more than 11,500 physicians and advanced practice providers and more than 15,000 nurses providing care services in 21 hospitals, 300+ outpatient locations and several post-acute facilities – and Priority Health, a provider-sponsored health plan serving more than 1.3 million members. 

“We are pleased to expand our primary care services into Dowagiac in 2024,” said Corewell Health in a statement. “Corewell Health already has the privilege of caring for many patients from Dowagiac and we are excited to offer primary care services closer to home.”

In 2006, the city worked closely with Van Buren Cass Health Department and Van Buren Cass Community Health Properties to finance and construct a 20,000 sq. ft. medical facility at the Donald Lyons Health Center. The building was large enough to support health department needs as well as needs of Ascension Borgess for clinic space. One of the rights of the city included in this transaction is that ownership of the building would be transferred to the city when the debt was paid in full. The Ascension lease is expiring and Ascension made the decision to relocate its clinic space to the hospital.

At the Nov. 13 council meeting, the city took steps to receive the title to the Donald Lyons Health Center. Once the city was informed of Ascension’s decision to relocate their clinic space to the hospital, the city began pursuing other health care providers so that additional health services could be provided within our community.

“When it became apparent that Ascension was going to consolidate their services and that there would not be the same level of services in the community, it was the highest priority of council for us to try to work with another provider to bring some of those additional services because health care is critical to the community,” said City Manager Kevin Anderson. “Council was very committed to trying to make sure we did everything in our power to seek out somebody to start to fill some of those gaps that were beginning to form. We’re just really pleased that Corewell really aligned with what we had hoped to see in the community and so I think when we add their services in, I think this will be nothing but good for the community in Dowagiac.”

Over the past several months, Corewell explored expanding its physician network in Dowagiac and the Donald Lyons Health Center met the location and facilities criteria needed for them to provide quality care to the community. Lyons said that Corewell plans to renovate the first floor and hopes to have its family care services available to the community in May 2024.

“They knew that healthcare in general in this area was challenging,” Lyons said. “They already have a substantial market share in Southwest Michigan and felt that the opportunity to have some sort of presence in Dowagiac would be important for the clients that they already have and we certainly welcomed that opportunity.”