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Posted on Thu, Dec 23, 2010 : 11:36 a.m.

Ann Arbor's IHA finalizes merger with Saint Joseph Mercy Health System

By Paula Gardner

Ann Arbor-based Integrated Health Associates completed its merger with the Saint Joseph Mercy Health System on Wednesday.

The Saint Joseph-IHA merger, announced in October, creates one of the largest integrated health networks in Michigan, according to a news release.

IHA is the region's largest physician group, reaching from Washtenaw County into Livingston, Oakland and western Wayne counties with its 192 doctors and nurse practitioners.

The merger brings IHA's 260,000 patients into the Saint Joseph system, including St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Superior Township and health centers in Saline and Chelsea.

At the same time, IHA and the Saint Joseph organization will continue to partner with the University of Michigan Health System.

According to the news release: "By coming together, both organizations will utilize their collective strengths to accelerate the achievement of their long-term, complementary, goals. SJMHS is developing an accountable care organization that includes an integrated physician network. The IHA goal is to embody all aspects of the patient-centered medical home with a value-based culture that provides outstanding patient, provider and patient satisfaction."

Terms of the merger were not disclosed.



Fri, Dec 24, 2010 : 8:40 a.m.

'Merger' = purchase. SJMHA is a business; it bought another business, IHA. Too bad the terms were not would be fascinating to see them. The medical business can be quite opaque; touting numbers could be bad for business. As with most purchases of businesses by businesses, a key goal is to eliminate overlapping job functions. This reduces operating costs for the purchaser, which boosts profits for the purchaser. Whether they say so or not, you can expect some labor reductions in the new company. Even so called non-profit companies (which should be called non-shareholder companies) must have profits, or they will close, so profit is important; boosting the bottom line by reducing expenses is common. And, as with most companies, charges for services will be what the market will bear, so, though the purchasing company's costs can be expected to be reduced, there is no expectation that prices charged to customers will be reduced. Lower customer prices will likely only arise from reduced demand for services (something already happening to some small extent due to the Great Recession) or increased supply and thus competition for medical services, something the seemingly anti-competitive AMA keeps controlled very well. It's becoming increasingly clear there is to be a major paradigm shift with respect to the medical care industry in coming years; the cost/benefit ratio is on an unsustainable trend. But that is another story.


Fri, Dec 24, 2010 : 8:06 a.m.

Pretty sure the U-M's group practice is the largest in the region at something like 1300+ docs.


Thu, Dec 23, 2010 : 8:01 p.m.

I have to wonder how much the new health care law had to do with this merger. I also have to wonder if this will reduce the cost of health care.