North Ottawa Community Health System to merge with Trinity Health

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | September 27, 2022
Business Affairs
North Ottawa Community Health System is merging with Trinity Health Michigan.
North Ottawa Community Health System (NOCHS) will join Trinity Health Michigan as its ninth hospital provider, starting on October 1.

NOCHS will henceforth be known as Trinity Health Grand Haven and will continue to serve patients at its 81-bed community hospital, North Ottawa Care Center at Heartwood Lodge, as well as its outpatient and urgent care facilities.

Sharing a strategic alliance since 2016 around the West Michigan lakeshore, the two health systems have been in talks since March 2022 about merging. The proposal was approved unanimously by the North Ottawa Community Hospital Authority in July.

“We are confident that with our history of serving together, we can continue to advance the choices available for high-quality specialty and primary care,” said Rob Casalou, president and CEO of Trinity Health Michigan, in a statement.

A Catholic nonprofit based in Livonia, Trinity Health is made up of 88 hospitals stretched across 25 states, as well as 131 continuing care facilities and 125 urgent care centers. In West Michigan, this includes Trinity Health Muskegon, Trinity Health Shelby, Trinity Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids, four senior living communities and 2,600 primary care and multi-specialty providers of Trinity Health Medical Group, including the North Ottawa Physician Group.

Its annual operating revenue is above $20 billion, and a merger will provide it access to NOCHS’ onsite ancillary services, including its pharmacy, ambulances, laboratory, urgent care, doctor offices, skilled nursing center and hospice facility.

All of NOCHS’ 650 employees and providers will continue serving patients, whose care will not be interrupted by the merger. Insurance plans will not change, and all operations and appointments for inpatient and outpatient services will proceed as scheduled.

“As a member of Trinity Health Michigan, NOCHS can continue adapting to a changing health care environment, providing needed care and services, as we have since our founding in 1919,” said NOCHS President and CEO Shelleye Yaklin, who will continue as president of Trinity Health Grand Haven.

The provider said back in March that merging would help it navigate the current healthcare environment, which has become “increasingly challenging” for mid-sized hospitals like itself due to staffing shortages, changing reimbursement models and limited operating capital.

Founded in 1967, the North Ottawa Care Center has been managed by NOCHS since 1996.

NOCHS will maintain a local governing board and local leadership. New Trinity Health signage will be installed over the next several months.

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