St. Joseph Mercy Health System, Ann Arbor, Mich., is exploring an affiliation with 99-bed Chelsea (Mich.) Community Hospital, the second such agreement the regional system has forged this year with a competitor.
A letter of intent calls for the two organizations to determine over the next 120 days whether the Chelsea Communityan independent not-for-profit hospital about 23 miles west of St. Joseph Mercys 520-bed flagship hospital in Ypsilantishould become a member of the system, which in turn is owned by Novi, Mich.-based Trinity Health. The nature of that transaction has yet to be determined and hammered out, said Steve Paulus, St. Joseph Mercys vice president of planning and network development. Paulus said he expects no management changes, and that Chelsea Communitys board would remain intact and gain representation in the systems governance.
In February, St. Joseph Mercy announced an affiliation with 280-bed St. Mary Mercy Hospital, Livonia, Mich., which functioned as an independent competitor although it was likewise owned by Trinity. The system also includes 71-bed St. Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospital in Howell, Mich., and 40-bed St. Joseph Mercy Saline (Mich.) Hospital.
Chelsea Community expects that joining St. Joseph Mercy would offer support with facility improvements as well as clinical and information technology, according to a news release. Both face increasing competition from new hospitals being built by Detroits Henry Ford Health System and St. John Health System. -- by Gregg Blesch