Questions & Answers about the Affiliation between MidMichigan Health and University of Michigan Health System

What is being announced?

The University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) and MidMichigan Health are announcing a formal affiliation between the two organizations.

It is important to note that this is not a merger or acquisition.

What does this mean for MidMichigan Health employees, patients and communities?

The affiliation means that MidMichigan can strengthen its ability to serve patients and communities, while giving them easier access to the advanced care and expertise available from UMHS.

MidMichigan’s employees, and the facilities they staff, remain part of MidMichigan Health. They will continue to provide a broad range of services, but with expanded options made possible by the affiliation with UMHS.

Why is MidMichigan Health affiliating with UMHS?

  • UMHS is the right choice to better fulfill MidMichigan Health’s mission of providing excellent services to improve the quality of life of people in the communities it serves.
  • UMHS is a premier brand, nationally recognized for clinical excellence and physician expertise.
  • MidMichigan Health patients most frequently select UMHS as their preferred center of excellence when care is not available locally.
  • The affiliation enhances MidMichigan Health’s ability to recruit physicians.
  • Collaboration with larger organizations is a necessity in the current and future health care environment. In order to succeed, MidMichigan Health will need to be able to fully manage the health of the populations it serves, which means affiliating or partnering to provide all of the services it cannot provide.
  • The affiliation preserves local control by MidMichigan Health.
  • UMHS has expertise in population health and information technology that can be shared with MidMichigan Health as it builds capabilities in these areas.

Does MidMichigan become part of UMHS as part of this affiliation?

UMHS will have a small ownership interest in MidMichigan Health, and that interest can grow over time, but MidMichigan Health will continue to exist as it is. This is not a merger or acquisition.

If UMHS owns a small percentage of MidMichigan Health, does that mean that UMHS may one day own MidMichigan Health?

MidMichigan Health has approached this affiliation from a position of strength. It has an A1 bond rating from Moody’s, an A+ rating from Standard and Poor’s, high quality physicians, a strong relationship with its communities and has been rated a top health system by Thomson Reuters. MidMichigan plans to maintain local control.

What kind of dollars are changing hands?

UMHS is contributing its expertise and brand in exchange for a small ownership interest in MidMichigan Health. The percentage ownership begins at less than 1 percent and may grow to as much as 20 percent over time.

Would MidMichigan physicians be required to send their patients to UMHS for care?

The physicians – in conjunction with the patient – determine the best plan of care. There would not be a requirement for referral to UMHS physicians. There is a strong history of MidMichigan Health physician and patient preference for UMHS and we believe that will only grow as we work more closely together. However, it is the intent that care be optimized locally as much as possible.

How would MidMichigan Health change as a result of this partnership?

This affiliation is designed to create better access to care for patients in the region that MidMichigan serves.

Will this mean that patients can get into U-M hospitals more easily? Will U-M doctors travel to MidMichigan’s service area to provide care?

The affiliation will help MidMichigan Health physicians connect better with UMHS physicians when they wish to make a referral or partner on a patient’s care. This may be in person or by telemedicine.

In which clinical specialties will UMHS and MidMichigan Health collaborate?

Clinical Councils of physicians and leaders are working together in the areas of cancer and cardiovascular services. Other clinical areas of focus are expected to be developed in the future.

What services will UMHS provide in the MidMichigan Health geographic area?

MidMichigan and UMHS will work together to deepen MidMichigan’s clinical capabilities, to keep local care local. Should it be necessary for patients from MidMichigan to seek care in Ann Arbor, UMHS would offer an enhanced referral and communication process as well as coordination with the original MidMichigan referring physician when arranging the patient’s discharge.

Will research studies be part of this?

Yes, we are exploring these opportunities together.

Will MidMichigan Health’s relationships with Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine and Central Michigan University College of Medicine be changed as a result of this affiliation with UMHS?

No. MidMichigan Health’s other higher medical education relationships will continue.

Will U-M medical students or residents train at MidMichigan Health facilities? Will MidMichigan physicians be able to receive continuing medical education at U-M?

These are areas we intend to explore fully as the relationship grows.

Where did this idea to partner come from?

This is not a new idea. Hospitals and health systems have been making these moves over the last couple of years more rapidly than ever before.

Will MidMichigan join a UMHS-led accountable care organization, or will a new one be formed?

Health care reform readiness is a specific area that MidMichigan and UMHS intend to fully explore. UMHS has successfully participated in ACOs and has some of the nation’s leading expertise in this area.

Does MidMichigan Health plan to change its name?

No. There are no plans to change the name.

Will MidMichigan hospitals now have a “block M” on them? Will the UMHS brand be used in MidMichigan marketing and promotion?

A new co-brand has been jointly developed that includes the “block M” as part of the design.

What does this mean for other UMHS affiliations, such as with IHA, Trinity Health-Michigan or the Pennant Health Alliance?

Those other affiliations will continue as part of the UMHS strategic goal of serving the entire state and ensuring that patients receive care in the most appropriate location.

What does this mean for relationships UMHS has with referring physicians and hospitals throughout the state?

Nothing in those relationships will change. UMHS is a resource for the entire state of Michigan and has positive relationships with, and receives referrals from, every hospital in the state. These relationships will continue, and we feel that this particular affiliation allows UMHS to better serve the population that reside in the MidMichigan Health service area.