Two of the nation's largest health systems, Ascension Health
and CHE Trinity Health
, have formed a joint company for managed-care contracting in Michigan, uniting a network of 27 hospitals, more than a dozen physician organizations and 5,000 physicians
in the state.
Officials for Ascension Health Michigan and CHE Trinity Health Michigan said the new company—Together Health Network—will become one of the largest and most closely aligned clinically integrated networks in the United States.
“This is one of the more transformational initiatives (Ascension Health) has ever done,” said Patricia Maryland, chief operating officer of St. Louis-based Ascension Health.
The alliance means 75% of the population in Michigan will be 20 minutes from either a network hospital or physician office, said Rick O'Connell, president of Trinity Health Division and executive vice president of CHE Trinity. “We can work with the payers in a more flexible way than our competitors can,” O'Connell said.
Under the agreement, physician organizations affiliated with Ascension and Trinity in Michigan will be invited to join the new physician-led organization, Maryland said.
Starting this fall, Together Health will offer new health-plan products to health insurers and employers. The company also will sell a variety of managed-care products on private health-insurance exchanges and on the federally run HealthCare.gov marketplace in Michigan, O'Connell said.
Over the next several months, Together Health Network will hire a physician CEO and appoint a 15-member board with nine physician members, four Trinity and Ascension managers and two community members.
The systems' legal experts concluded that Together Health will not require federal or state antitrust approval because it is not an asset merger, O'Connell said.