TROY, Mich.-The hospital and physician owners of SelectCare will relinquish control of the health plan under a plan approved last month. The switch to an independent community board must be ratified by shareholders Dec. 10. The SelectCare board voted to reduce its size to eight members from 20. The new board will have five business representatives, one academic physician from outside the market, a Minneapolis-area hospital executive and an unidentified physician executive from the South. Currently, governance is shared 50-50 by the hospitals and physicians who own the plan. The hospital owners, all in Southeast Michigan, are William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, Detroit-Macomb Hospital in Warren, Oakwood Healthcare System in Dearborn and Providence Hospital and Medical Centers in Southfield. An independent board will allow SelectCare to improve its strategic direction, said Deborah Lantzy-Talpos, SelectCare's director of governance, legal and regulatory affairs. "I think it will change how we're viewed in the marketplace. I think the purchasers will believe we are going to be more competitive," she said. SelectCare has 400,000 members in its HMO, PPO and point-of-service products.
DEARBORN, Mich.-Oakwood Healthcare System will close two of its seven hospitals in the next 14 months. Oakwood Hospital Downriver Center-Lincoln Park (Mich.) and Oakwood Hospital Merriman Center-Westland (Mich.) will be razed, reducing the system's inpatient beds by 350 to 1,550. The hospitals had occupancy rates of 16% and 30%, respectively, in recent months. Oakwood will build 20,000-square-foot ambulatory-care clinics in each of the communities and transfer some services to its other hospitals. The closings will result in 400 job reductions, or 4.6% of the system's 8,600 positions. Gerald Fitzgerald, Oakwood's president and chief executive officer, said the closings will save about $15 million annually.