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BCHS, Bronson to Form New Regional Health Care System

(BATTLE CREEK, MI)-- Battle Creek Health System today announced the selection of Bronson as its new partner. The two have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to develop a new regional health care system. The LOI provides a framework for the partnership and begins the formal process of creating the operating model for merging the two organizations.

The vision for the partnership is to create a health care system that delivers better coordination of care for patients throughout Southwest Michigan.

“For the past 18 months, BCHS trustees, including Trinity Health, physician and executive leaders have been engaged in a thoughtful, strategic review of our marketplace and the future of health care services,” said Neil Nyberg, chair of the BCHS Community Partners board of trustees. “Throughout this process, the goal was to assure that the very best health care is available in our community, a commitment Bronson also shares.”

BCHS chose Bronson based upon a number of factors including:

  • a shared dynamic vision of a coordinated, regional system that works better for patients.
  • Bronson’s commitment to continuously improve the patient experience, its national reputation for quality, and the breadth and depth of specialty and sub-specialty services it provides in this region, and
  • common core values that include a long-standing commitment to community governance and a mission to ensure quality care is available to all persons regardless of their ability to pay.

According to Nelson Karre, chair of the BCHS board of trustees, “Bronson’s national reputation for quality and high level regional services such as the children’s hospital, heart care, neurosurgery, and critical care make it an outstanding ‘fit’ with what we offer in Battle Creek. In addition, as our boards discussed a partnership, we found mutual intentions that will go a long way toward guiding our actions together into the future.”

Bronson President and CEO Frank J. Sardone said, “This partnership with BCHS will enable Bronson to take our longstanding commitment to quality to an even higher level. Working together for the greater good of our patients will help us achieve optimal use and coordination of health care resources regionally. That means better meeting our patients’ needs by providing the right care in the right place at the right time. By maximizing the clinical strengths of each organization, we expect to create a regional health care system that delivers a superior patient experience at all points of care.”

“The Bronson board of directors enthusiastically endorses this partnership and the many ways it will bring to life our vision for enhancing health care services in the region,” says Barbara James, chair of the Bronson board of directors. “We also hope this announcement marks the coming together of not just two health systems, but two communities. From our perspective, that is a legacy we can all be proud of.”

Bronson will become the ‘operating partner’ of the new regional system by purchasing 51% of BCHS. Specifically, Bronson will purchase the 50% share held by Trinity Health – and 1% of the BCHS Community Partners holdings. Community Partners will join the Bronson board of directors resulting in a more regionally focused board.

During the coming months, legal, operational, and strategic work on the new partnership will get underway and afford opportunities to engage employees, medical staffs, and communities in discussion about the new regional system.

Depending upon the pace of due diligence and subject to final legal and regulatory approvals, the proposed new system could be operational as early as the middle of 2011. Until then, both organizations will continue to operate as they have been, but will report on major milestones as they occur.

“Patients across Southwest Michigan will be the real winners, as BCHS and Bronson work together to develop an efficient, effective, high-quality health care system that improves care and makes our region even stronger,” concludes Denise Brooks-Williams, BCHS president and CEO. “We very much appreciate Bronson’s commitment to partner with us to improve and grow services in Battle Creek. This is a win-win for all involved, especially our patients and their families.”

About Battle Creek Health System (
Battle Creek Health System, a 204-bed, multi-campus health care provider, offers full outpatient and inpatient acute care including robotic surgery, diagnostics, and rehabilitation services; 100% all private rooms. It also offers world-class diagnostic capabilities including PET/CT imaging, freestanding ‘open’ and traditional MRI, CT (16- and 64-slice), IMRT with image guided radiation therapy. BCHS has been recognized nationally as one of the safest hospitals, and has been a leader in the development of electronic health records as evidenced by multiple honors as one of America’s ‘most wired’ and ‘most wireless’ hospitals. The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons recognizes The Cancer Care Center as a Community Hospital Comprehensive Cancer program, the only hospital in Michigan to receive that honor twice. Specialty services include the county’s largest accredited sleep center and a wound-healing center with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

About Bronson Healthcare Group (
Bronson Healthcare Group in Kalamazoo, Michigan, is a not-for-profit, tertiary healthcare system serving southwest Michigan and northern Indiana. With a workforce of nearly 5,000 and a medical staff of more than 750, Bronson is one of the area's largest employers. It offers a full range of services from primary care to advanced critical care and has multiple service locations. Bronson serves the largest percentage of Medicaid patients in the area and provides a substantial benefit to the community through outreach and charitable care.

Bronson Methodist Hospital in downtown Kalamazoo, Mich., is the flagship hospital for the health system. With 405 licensed beds and all private rooms, it provides care in virtually every specialty and offers advanced capabilities in critical care as a Level I Trauma Center; in neurological care as a Joint Commission certified Primary Stroke Center; in cardiac care as the region’s first accredited Chest Pain Emergency Center; in obstetrics as the leading BirthPlace and only high-risk pregnancy center in the region, and in pediatrics as one of only five children's hospitals in the state.

It is the recipient of the 2005 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation's highest presidential honor for quality and organizational performance excellence. In 2009, Bronson received the American Hospital Association-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize awarded annually to only one U.S. hospital, was named one of the nation's 100 Top Hospitals by Thomson Reuters, and joined the top five percent of hospitals in the nation to be designated a Magnet Hospital for Nursing Excellence. Bronson is also ranked in the top five percent of hospitals in the nation as a 2009-10 HealthGrades Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence.

About Trinity Health (
Trinity Health is the fourth-largest Catholic health care system in the country. Based in Novi, Michigan, Trinity Health operates 46 acute-care hospitals, 379 outpatient facilities, 33 long-term care facilities, and numerous home health offices and hospice programs in nine states. Employing more than 47,000 full-time staff, Trinity Health reported $7.0 billion in unrestricted revenue in fiscal year 2009. As a not-for-profit health system, Trinity Health reinvests its profits back into the community through programs to serve the poor and uninsured, manage chronic conditions like diabetes, health education and promotion initiatives, and outreach for the elderly. In fiscal 2009, this included nearly $400 million in such community benefits. For more information about Trinity Health, visit or become a fan of the Trinity Health Facebook page at

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