THREE RIVERS, Mich.-Three Rivers Area Hospital approved a seven-year affiliation with Kalamazoo, Mich.-based Borgess Health Alliance. The deal furthers the alliance's goal of serving a 10-county area of southwest Michigan. In exchange for its commitment, Borgess will provide the 60-bed hospital with access to capital, assistance in developing clinical and administrative information systems, and medical office space. The agreement also calls for Three Rivers to develop managed-care strategies with Borgess' 25-physician primary-care group, Professional Medical Center. Three Rivers President Brad Solberg said Borgess will help the hospital borrow as much as $2 million for capital needs, including construction of a medical office building. Borgess owns 426-bed Borgess Medical Center and 54-bed Lee Memorial Hospital in Dowagiac, Mich. The alliance recently merged with 43-bed Pipp Community Hospital in Plainwell, Mich., and has affiliations with four other hospitals.
BISMARCK, N.D.-Five Catholic health systems serving western and central North Dakota have formed Northland Healthcare Alliance. Organizers said it's the first provider alliance to cover the region. The goal is to be ready if managed care arrives. Collectively, members have committed to pay $1.2 million to finance the alliance in its first three years. "We want to work as actively as we can to get the cost of healthcare down and be linked," said Kregg Hanson, president of the upper Midwest region of Bloomington, Minn.-based Catholic Health Initiatives, one of the members. Other members are Benedictine Sisters of the Annunciation, Bismarck; Sisters of Mary of the Presentation Health Corp., Fargo, N.D.; Sacred Heart Corp., Denver; and Benedictine Health System, Duluth, Minn. The alliance comprises 13 acute-care hospitals. Timothy C. Cox, former executive director of the Utah Association of Rural Centers of Health, has been hired as executive director. The alliance has headquarters in Bismarck and a second office in Minot, N.D., 250 miles away. Hanson said the biggest challenge will involve physicians, who do not yet feel pressure from managed care. The alliance's first priorities are to link members through information systems, develop a physician-hospital organization and centralize marketing, Hanson said.
CHICAGO-University of Chicago Health System continues to expand its presence in outpatient care. Late last month it acquired 30,000-square-foot Midwest Medical Center, a surgery center in suburban Palos Heights, Ill. Terms of the sale weren't disclosed. About 100 physicians use the facility, which includes 20 examination rooms, five operating rooms and two recovery areas with 16 beds. "This was an acquisition of a surgery center to support our network and our physician groups, particularly Meyer Medical Group, which has four offices and 54 primary-care physicians in the south and southwest suburbs," said Dean Harrison, executive vice president of University of Chicago Health System. Midwest will become a not-for-profit entity within University of Chicago Health System. With University of Chicago Hospitals as its anchor, the system is affiliated with a dozen hospitals in the Chicago area, Indiana and southwestern Michigan.