LakeView Announces Plans to Join Bronson Health System - Bronson Healthcare

Published on May 17, 2007

The LakeView Community Hospital Authority Board of Directors has agreed to proceed with steps for LakeView to become a member of the Bronson family of companies.

The board’s goals are to enhance healthcare services in Van Buren County and sustain the long-term viability of LakeView Community Hospital, according to Chuck Randall, chair of the LakeView board.

“Discussions about taking the LakeView-Bronson relationship to the next level have been underway for quite some time, and both organizations have concluded that we can better meet the needs of the community if we work together as one unified health system,” Randall says. “I applaud my colleagues on the board for making this foresighted decision, which will not only sustain but expand healthcare services in Eastern Van Buren County.”

The proposed transaction involves Bronson acquiring the assets of LakeView Community Hospital, its associated primary care practices, skilled nursing center in Lawton, LakeView Pharmacy in Mattawan, and Van Buren Emergency Medical Services (VBEMS) and managing them as part of the Bronson health system.

Bronson Healthcare Group is headquartered in Kalamazoo, Mich., and includes Bronson Methodist Hospital, Bronson Vicksburg Hospital, Bronson Medical Group, Bronson Home Health Care, Bronson Outpatient Center-Paw Paw, Bronson Lifestyle Improvement & Research Center and the Bronson Health Foundation.

The process of becoming a Bronson subsidiary is expected to take until at least the end of the year because of the time required for due diligence and state approval. In addition, LakeView, as a hospital authority, expects to seek voter approval of the transaction in the November election.

LakeView and Bronson have had a joint affiliation agreement since 1990, in which:

    • Bronson owns the medical office building next to LakeView (the 404 Building, constructed in 1992).

    • Bronson operated the obstetrics unit at LakeView, the Bronson BirthPlace at LakeView, from 1994 to 2004.

    • For many years, Lakeview Medical Center, employing physicians in family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics and general surgery, was a joint venture between LakeView and Bronson.

    • Van Buren EMS, the local emergency medical service/ambulance provider, is 50 percent owned by Bronson.

“This is great news for both LakeView and Bronson and a logical next step in the longstanding relationship between our two organizations, and it is also important in terms of access to healthcare services,” says Bronson President & CEO Frank J. Sardone.

“Bronson is committed to investing more than $20 million over the next decade to grow programs, services, facilities and technology to match the needs of patients and families in Van Buren County,” Sardone says. “This includes $18 million over the next five years as well as another $2.5 million to the LakeView Foundation over the next 10 years.”

“We don’t expect everyone to come to Kalamazoo for care,” he says. “Instead, our goal is to strengthen the range, quality and value of healthcare services that can be experienced locally.”

This continuing evolution of the LakeView-Bronson partnership is expected to benefit the LakeView service area, according to LakeView President & CEO Sally Berglin.

“It has become clear over the 17 years of our partnership that LakeView and Bronson share a common vision for and commitment to quality healthcare throughout Southwest Michigan,” Berglin says. “With Bronson’s national reputation for quality care and organizational excellence, we could not find a better partner with whom to strengthen the health and healthcare of the patients, families, organizations and communities that LakeView has served since 1939.”