Grand Rapids-based Spectrum Health, one of Michigan's largest not-for-profit health systems, and Lakeland Health, a three-hospital system based in St. Joseph, have signed a letter of intent and expect to merge by Oct. 1, officials said Wednesday.
"We have a long-standing relationship with Lakeland Health and admire their excellent clinical care, strong leadership team and commitment to the community," Richard Breon, Spectrum's CEO, said in a statement.
"Our board has spent the past year diligently focused on our growth and partnership strategy in the context of current and anticipated future trends in the industry, such as consumer-centric care and precision medicine," Breon said. "This integration brings benefits to both organizations in terms of improving affordability, quality and access."
Some in the Michigan health care industry believe that Spectrum, which includes 12 hospitals, 180 ambulatory care sites, an employed medical group and the Priority Health insurance company, has had similar discussions with other smaller hospital systems.
Under the proposal, Lakeland would become a division of Spectrum and retain a local board and charitable foundation. Lakeland's three hospitals and outpatient facilities employ more than 4,000 workers and 450 doctors, nurses and other providers.