07-12-18 Lakeland Health and Spectrum Health explore affiliation; Senate passes Stabenow’s bipartisa

Lakeland Health and Spectrum Health explore affiliation

The Boards of Directors of Spectrum Health and Lakeland Health announced July 11 that they intend to integrate. Both organizations see the value of coming together to focus on high quality care and improving the health of our communities. Together they will be pursuing a definitive agreement and due diligence over the next few months. The agreement is expected to be finalized by October 1, 2018. “We have a long-standing relationship with Lakeland Health and admire their excellent clinical care, strong leadership team and commitment to the community,” said Richard C. Breon, Spectrum Health President & CEO. “Our board has spent the past year diligently focused on our growth and partnership strategy in the context of current and anticipated future trends in the industry, such as consumer-centric care and precision medicine. This integration brings benefits to both organizations in terms of improving affordability, quality and access. We are confident that with our aligned cultures and a shared focus on caring for our communities, we can achieve significant impact on health improvement.” Lakeland Health is a comprehensive three-hospital health system serving southwestern Michigan with more than 4,000 employees and 450 providers. Lakeland Health would proceed as a division of Spectrum Health, retaining oversight by a local board of directors, local capital investment considerations, and local philanthropic efforts. “We are excited about what our two organizations joining together will mean for our community. Lakeland’s number one priority has been to take great care of our friends and neighbors – the integration with Spectrum Health will provide an unprecedented opportunity to do that even better,” said Loren B. Hamel, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lakeland Health. “The benefits of integration will be many. We see great value in sharing and standardizing our approaches to continuously improving the health care we provide, to enhancing the overall health of the communities we serve, to lowering the overall cost of care, and to make our organizations the best places to attract the best talent. Spectrum Health’s top tier performance, geographic proximity, and cultural similarity will make this a great partnership.” Dan Hopp, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Lakeland Health, said, “The Lakeland Board has been deliberate about understanding where health care is going and what it takes to succeed. The positive impact of size and scale have been topics of conversation at the board level for some time.” Hopp added, “The integration conversation with Spectrum Health to date has exceeded our expectations for a partner for providing health care services to our community. I have been impressed by the cultural fit Lakeland has with Spectrum Health – their commitment to innovation, employee relations, and quality aligns well with ours. Spectrum Health offers capacity beyond our ability to develop locally. Being part of a larger system will truly benefit our community.” Dick DeVos, Chairman, Spectrum Health System Board of Directors added, “In today’s dynamic health care industry, it’s exciting when two organizations can see the vision of being better together. Spectrum Health and Lakeland Health realize that together we will strengthen and improve health outcomes for the people we serve. This integration ensures commitment to the community and an investment in continued access to best-in-class physicians and caregivers.” Lakeland Health is a member of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Partners in Children’s Health and also has partnered with Spectrum Health Medical Group for specialty services, including cardiovascular care. These existing relationships have resulted in improvements in quality and access as well as financial savings and operational support for Lakeland Health through shared services. Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system, based in West Michigan, offering a full continuum of care through the Spectrum Health Hospital Group, which is comprised of 12 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital; 180 ambulatory and service sites; 3,600 physicians and advanced practice providers, including 1,500 members of the Spectrum Health Medical Group; and Priority Health, a health plan that served 996,000 members in fiscal year 2017. Spectrum Health is West Michigan’s largest employer, with 26,000 employees. The organization provided $372 million in community benefit during its 2017 fiscal year. Spectrum Health was named one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems—and in the top five among the largest health systems—in 2017 by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson HealthTM. This was the sixth time the organization received this recognition.

Senate passes Stabenow’s bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill

The U.S. Senate has passed U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow’s bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill by a wide bipartisan margin, 86-11. The new bill builds on the success of the current Farm Bill, authored by Stabenow in 2014. The bipartisan bill strongly supports Michigan’s farmers and agricultural economy, which is the state’s second-largest industry. The bill also has a major impact in protecting Michigan’s Great Lakes, investing in our small towns and rural communities, promoting Michigan forestry, supporting local food economies and providing healthy food for families. “This Farm Bill is a major bipartisan victory that has Michigan on every page,” said Senator Stabenow. “By reaching across party lines and working together, we are able to provide certainty to Michigan’s farmers, families, and rural communities.”

2018 Senate Farm Bill overview The bipartisan Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the 2018 Senate Farm Bill, will support the one in four jobs related to food and agriculture in Michigan. It will provide five years of certainty for Michigan’s farmers, fuel opportunity in rural communities and grow small businesses. It continues historic investments in land, water and wildlife conservation, will grow Michigan local food economies, and will support families working hard to make ends meet. The current Farm Bill expires September 30, which is why our farmers, families, and rural communities need a comprehensive 5-year Farm Bill now. The Farm Bill is a jobs bill The bipartisan 2018 Senate Farm Bill fuels economic opportunity and job growth both on and off the farm in small towns and cities alike. It creates certainty – not just for farmers and farm workers, but also for equipment manufacturers, food processing businesses, retailers, and many other employers across Michigan. One in four jobs in Michigan is supported by agriculture, which is the state’s second-largest industry. The food and agriculture sector contributes $101.2 billion to Michigan’s economy annually. Support for bio-based manufacturing creates rural and urban manufacturing jobs by using Michigan-grown crops like corn and soybeans to make biofuels and Michigan-made goods like seat cushions and steering wheels. Clean energy and efficiency upgrades help small businesses and farmers invest in wind and solar technologies that lower utility bills and support energy installation jobs in Michigan. Rural economic development initiatives attract new employers to Michigan’s small towns and rural communities through Main Street infrastructure improvements and expanded access to high-speed internet. Forest management and innovation supports 30,000 Michigan forestry jobs, including loggers and mill workers in northern Michigan and the U.P., all while finding new uses for Michigan-grown wood in manufacturing and building construction. Support for farmers markets and food hubs help family farmers and local businesses sell locally grown food and made-in-Michigan products to families, schools, and restaurants, driving the local food economy. Supports Michigan farmers From bad weather to volatile markets, farming is one of the riskiest businesses out there – which is why farmers need a strong safety net. The bipartisan 2018 Senate Farm Bill equips Michigan farmers with risk management tools that help them stay afloat during unexpected disasters, while also allowing them to tap into new markets to boost their bottom line. Strong risk management tools make it easier for farmers to protect their farms, including expanded crop insurance and risk management options for Michigan farmers who grow crops like apples, cherries, and hops. Improvements for dairy farmers spearheaded by Senator Stabenow include a new, affordable, and flexible safety net called Dairy Risk Coverage, and a new milk donation initiative to encourage dairy farmers to donate milk to Michigan food banks. The bill will also refund premiums for dairy farmers who purchased coverage under the former Margin Protection Program, which did not live up to expectations. Support for specialty crop growers, which Senator Stabenow first authored in a new title in the 2008 Farm Bill to strengthen Michigan’s diverse fruit and vegetable industry, increases productivity and drives demand for the food they grow. New help for beginning farmers, veterans, and urban agriculture creates opportunities to expand Michigan’s diverse agricultural economy and builds the bench to support the future of Michigan agriculture. Strengthened support for organic agriculture protects the integrity of Michigan organic products and helps farmers transition into a fast-growing and profitable sector of agriculture. Investments in agricultural research support the ground-breaking science and technology research being done at Michigan State University, fueling innovation and safeguarding Michigan’s agricultural economy. Strengthened export opportunities will continue to help countless Michigan farmers and small businesses find new global markets for their goods. Protects the Great Lakes and supports outdoor recreation The bipartisan 2018 Senate Farm Bill continues to be one of the most significant investments in the conservation of land, water, and our Michigan way of life. Through targeted conservation efforts, the Farm Bill protects our Great Lakes and rivers, while preserving wildlife habitat to support hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation. Successful regional conservation partnerships are strengthened to provide greater flexibility for farmers and partners leading regional projects that protect the Great Lakes and improve wildlife habitat for hunting and fishing. Strengthens Michigan’s small towns and rural communities Michigan’s small towns and rural communities need real resources to thrive in the 21st Century. The bipartisan 2018 Senate Farm Bill has made critical investments to spur economic development and improve the quality of life for families. Strengthening integrity and food access for families Just as the farm bill provides a safety net for Michigan farmers, it also includes a safety net for Michigan families. While the 2014 Farm bill has resulted in savings of $80 billion dollars from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the bipartisan 2018 Senate Farm Bill makes key improvements to further strengthen the integrity of the program, while still preserving critical food access for families. Stronger oversight of SNAP to ensure every SNAP dollar is getting to families in need.

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