“Creating a Framework for Transformation”
In a bold step forward, Mercy Health Muskegon and Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, who officially announced the formation of the Mercy Health system in 2012, have established a regional board, positioning the organization, in the words of regional president and CEO Roger Spoelman, as “no longer two separate hospitals, but one regional health system.” In a move meant to formalize the many major initiatives that the hospitals have originated together, the new board has been formed to provide governance and oversight on a regional basis to the system, allowing greater unity in developing strategies and pursuing the IHI Triple Aim, a framework developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement that describes an approach to optimizing health system performance focusing on the goal that designs must be developed to simultaneously pursue three dimensions: improving the patient experience of care (including quality and satisfaction); improving the health of populations; and reducing the per capita cost of health care.
Executives, staff and physicians from both organizations have been working together on several major initiatives for the past two years, including a regional clinical integration network of more than 1,000 physicians, coordination of services in several key areas such as neuroscience and oncology, human resource functions, and managing the health of populations. “We intend to shape the future,” continued Spoelman. “The new world of healthcare demands that systems be coordinated and integrated rather than separate and fragmented. We are ready.”
“Our system is unique in that, though we function locally for the convenience of our patients, our resources are deep and broad. We not only share knowledge, technology, services, and our philosophy of care; we also have access to national best practices, as regional health ministries of CHE Trinity Health, the second largest Catholic healthcare system in the country, ” commented Spoelman. “This new governance structure will provide a framework for the transformation of healthcare in our region and beyond and will enable us to accelerate integration of our system to become west Michigan’s best choice for cost, quality of care and safety across the care continuum.”
The new regional board does not replace the local board in each organization’s home community. Each site will continue to have a board to ensure community input and control over local health care delivery.
In this new structure, the local board retains authority to oversee local operations – including quality metrics, patient safety and patient experience, medical staff appointments, employee relations, clinical integration and fundraising. Also, local management remains in place with the same duties and authorities, but with greater accountability to, and coordination through, the regional board.
Chuck Frayer, managing partner of Crowe Horwath in Grand Rapids, has been appointed chair of the new regional board. “Our board will have oversight for the system to ensure that we are carrying out the mission and vision of Mercy Health, and we will also depend on our local boards to give advice and direction on community relations, the strategic direction of the region, the hospitals’ financial performance, and governance appointments. Our local presidents, Bill Manns in Grand Rapids and Greg Loomis in Muskegon, will also attend the local and regional Board meetings so we gain their perspectives on crucial issues,” he said. The regional board is supported by an executive team of Gary Allore, Regional Chief Financial Officer; Myra Bergman, RSM, Regional Mission Leader; and Mary Boyd, Regional Vice President, Network and System Development.
The board is composed of health care and community business leaders from each area served by the respective organizations. In addition to Spoelman and Frayer, members include Mark Fazakerly, Mike Gluhanich, Camille Jourden-Mark, and Bruce Olson, MD, of Muskegon; LuAnn Hannasch, RSM, of Livonia; and Julie Ridenour, Ken Sikkema, and Terry Wright, MD of Grand Rapids and Sister Mary Persico, executive vice president, mission integration at CHE Trinity Health. Each member of this initial board will serve a term of 18 months and the work will include determining the best policies for the system going forward, including the development of a new regional strategic plan. The number of board members will grow in the future, Spoelman said, as the organization continues to grow.