The proposed partnership between two of our largest hospitals is now a done deal.
Wednesday morning, board members at Memorial Hospital and Health System approved a plan to join with Elkhart General Hospital as part of one health system.
Elkhart board members approved the proposal Tuesday. Both are among the last independent hospitals in the area.
According to a statement released by Elkhart General Hospital Tuesday, "the outcome of the vote and the decision of the Board to affiliate were based on a close examination of confidential documents and discussions regarding shared values, opportunities, and potential alignment possibilities.”
Administrators say affiliating under a newly-formed parent company will save money, help attract new medical specialists to the region, and ensure both hospitals retain local ownership.
Some in Elkhart have been worried this might hamper health care delivery there. Administrators say - although some support services may end up merging, people won't see any difference in patient healthcare and that it will generally stay where it is now.
"Patient care is going to remain very, very local. But some of the support services – we're going to make some combinations and then you're going to see quite a bit of savings in those areas,” said Memorial CEO Phil Newbold.
Newbold said other hospitals and doctor groups may also join this health system in the future.
"This isn't just for two organizations,” he said. “This is a platform – an organizational structure that we think other hospitals and large physician groups will want to join and we want to make sure we're planning a system for the future, not just the present."
The yet-to-be-named health system will include a corporate headquarters somewhere between South Bend and Elkhart and a board of trustees with seven from Memorial and the other seven from Elkhart.