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Posted on Wed, Sep 22, 2010 : 10:04 a.m.

University of Michigan Health System announces partnership with two health systems

By Juliana Keeping

The University of Michigan Health System is teaming up with two community health systems on the west side of the state to form Pennant Health Alliance, UMHS officials announced this morning.

The alliance between UMHS, Kent County-based Metro Health and Trinity Health will combine clinical support and administrative services in several areas, including: group purchasing, revenue cycle management, health information technology and physician alignment.

“Pennant Health Alliance will deliver access to advanced specialty care through technology integration, clinical care coordination and local program development,” Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, CEO of the U-M Health System, said in a written statement. “Patients will gain the clinical expertise of the University of Michigan Health System without necessarily having to travel to Ann Arbor. By integrating care across the continuum, we will tend to patients’ needs in the most appropriate setting and as close to home as possible.”

Pennant Health Alliance is expected to continue growing. UMHS spokeswoman Kara Gavin said talks are under way with St. Joseph Mercy Health System officials regarding integrating pediatric services, as well as other health systems throughout the state.

The decision was reached following months of negotiations. The alliance will offer independent community hospitals and clinics a new option for clinical support and business.

To join Pennant Health Alliance, hospitals and physician practices must arrange an agreement and then purchase services, a news release said.

Mike Faas, president and CEO of Metro Health, will serve as chief executive officer for
Pennant Health Alliance.

The U-M Health System includes the U-M hospitals and health centers, which comprises three hospitals and dozens of outpatient health centers and clinics; the U-M Medical School with its faculty group practice and research and education programs; the clinical operations of the U-M School of Nursing; and the Michigan Health Corp.

Metro Health is a regional health-care organization that includes a 208-bed general acute care osteopathic teaching hospital and 12 outpatient centers based in neighborhoods. It serves more than 130,000 patients in Kent and surrounding counties.

Trinity Health is headquartered in Novi and operates 47 acute-care hospitals, 379
outpatient facilities and 33 long-term care facilities, as well as a number of hospice programs and home health offices in eight states.

Juliana Keeping is a health and environment reporter for Reach her at or 734-623-2528. Follow Juliana Keeping on Twitter