Hospital mergers like the one that formed eight-hospital Beaumont Health in September 2014 often take five years or more to ultimately be judged a success or failure.
But three years into the merger that brought together four-hospital Oakwood Healthcare, Botsford Hospital and Beaumont Health System, progress toward that end has been unmistakable, according to top executives and physicians interviewed by Crain's. Beaumont's board chair, John Lewis, declined interview requests.
"From an operating standpoint, we have got a beat and rhythm and are doing well," CEO John Fox said of the merger. "We are exceeding our targets, getting higher volumes, our hospitals are growing with better asset utilization. Part of that reason is that people understand a lot better than a couple years ago what Beaumont Health is."
"Patients and doctors are trying us who have not done so before. All boats are rising. With that, our market share is growing. We see it in all the math. The (Southeast Michigan) market has grown by X, but we are growing by 2X. By definition, our slice of the pie is getting bigger."
It's paying off.
For fiscal 2016 that ended Dec. 31, Beaumont Health enjoyed an operating income increase of 43 percent to $200.6 million for a 4.6 percent margin, compared with $140.7 million the prior year. Net revenue grew 6.7 percent to $4.4 billion. Beaumont has projected net savings from the merger over three years to be more than $134 million.
Beaumont is metro Detroit's second-largest system by revenue at $4.4 billion, somewhat behind $5.7 billion Henry Ford Health System, which includes $2.4 billion in health premium revenue. Comparing just net patient revenue, Beaumont is ahead of six-hospital Henry Ford, $4.1 billion to $3 billion.