Sparrow to join U-M Health under proposed agreement

December 9, 2022  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership,

Approximately a 4-minute read

Key takeaways: 

  • The board of regents on Thursday approved moving ahead with an agreement for Sparrow Health System to join U-M Health.
  • The deal will expand services to residents in Mid-Michigan and beyond.
  • “For U-M Health, this is an important step toward our long-term vision of a statewide system of highly coordinated care,” said Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Michigan Medicine, dean of the U-M Medical School and executive vice president for medical affairs at U-M.

Sparrow Health System will join U-M Health under a proposed agreement that will expand services to Mid-Michigan residents, provide access to the highest level of care, improve facilities and technology, and begin a new chapter in Sparrow’s storied history.

The U-M Board of Regents approved moving ahead with the agreement at its meeting Thursday, as did the Sparrow Health System Board of Directors on Nov. 28. The agreement is expected to be completed in the first half of 2023, pending final regulatory approvals and completion of the closing process.

Joining U-M Health will have a far-reaching impact on Sparrow and Mid-Michigan, expanding access to clinical care throughout the region and, ultimately, statewide.

“The partnership with U-M Health provides Sparrow the opportunity to take a greater leadership role in improving the health of the communities we serve,” said Sparrow Health System President and CEO James F. Dover.

Added Sparrow Health System Board Chair John Pirich: “This enables Sparrow to achieve our long-term strategy of helping to create a statewide system of care and allows us to accelerate growth and continue our 126-year commitment to providing world-class care close to home.”

U-M President Santa Ono pointed out that an affiliation agreement signed by the two organizations in 2019 for pediatric services paved the way for ongoing collaboration between the two systems.

“The mission, vision and values of the two organizations are aligned with a common goal to deliver on the promise of nationally renowned clinical excellence in an accessible setting,” he said.

According to Paul Brown, chair of the board of U-M regents, “This agreement strengthens U-M Health’s ability to provide quality healthcare in communities beyond southeast Michigan, expanding our mission as a statewide referral site for the most critically ill.”

“For U-M Health, this is an important step toward our long-term vision of a statewide system of highly coordinated care; a vision that Sparrow also embraces and is excited to build toward,” said Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Michigan Medicine, dean of the U-M Medical School and executive vice president for medical affairs at U-M.

“Upon closing, U-M Health will create a clinical care network that builds upon the strengths of the world-class U-M academic medical center and a very successful community-based health system. Together the two organizations will focus on bringing increased health care innovation to mid-Michigan and beyond.”

LaKeeya Tucker, D.O., medical chief of staff for E.W. Sparrow Hospital, said as a clinician she is excited about working with her U-M Health colleagues to improve access to world-class care throughout the region.

“We are doing something special here by combining the community care and know-how that Sparrow has long been known for with the clinical expertise and commitment of U-M Health,” Tucker said.

U-M Health has committed $800 million in investment to Sparrow Health System, which will be funded through facility projects, operations, and strategic investments over eight years.

“We will invest in numerous improvement and growth initiatives based on community need, such as renovations to our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at E.W. Sparrow Hospital in Lansing and geographic growth across the communities we serve.  This will also strengthen our key service lines including cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, and neuroscience.” noted Joseph Ruth, Sparrow Health System’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “This infusion of investment into Sparrow services will provide job growth and career development opportunities that would not otherwise be available to our caregivers.”

According to U-M Health President David Miller, M.D., M.P.H.: “This agreement builds upon the successful partnership formed through U-M Health at Sparrow Children’s Center. This established partnership has clarified the strong cultural alignment between U-M Health and Sparrow, while providing incredibly important pediatric care to families throughout Mid-Michigan. Our expanded partnership with Sparrow will further strengthen U-M Health’s ability to provide quality health care in communities beyond southeast Michigan.”

The partnership will also build on U-M Health’s minority investment in Sparrow’s health plan, Physicians Health Plan (PHP). PHP provides high-quality healthcare coverage to more than 70,000 members and 300 employers across Michigan and includes a Medicare Advantage plan.

Sparrow has more than 115 sites of care, including E.W. Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, community hospitals in Carson City, Charlotte, Ionia and St. Johns, Sparrow Specialty Hospital, and nearly 500 Sparrow primary care providers and specialists serving patients across the region. 

With the addition of Sparrow, U-M Health will become a $7-billion organization with more than 200 care sites across the state.

To learn even more about this agreement with Sparrow, check out these FAQs.