Local Voters Approve LakeView Joining Bronson Health System - Bronson Healthcare

Published on November 07, 2007

PAW PAW, Mich. – LakeView Community Hospital is moving forward with plans to join the Bronson health system after approval yesterday by the communities in Van Buren County that make up the LakeView Hospital Authority.

Voters in the13 communities – made up of the city of Gobles; the townships of Almena, Antwerp, Decatur, Hamilton, Lawrence, Paw Paw, Pine Grove and Porter; and the villages of Decatur, Lawton, Mattawan and Paw Paw – cast ballots in overwhelming support of LakeView joining Bronson.

“We are pleased and gratified by the results of Tuesday's election,” said Sally Berglin, president and CEO of LakeView Community Hospital. “We appreciate the support of the community and our own employees, which will enable LakeView and Bronson to move forward together to meet the growing healthcare needs of the individuals and families we serve.

“We especially want to thank the volunteer members of Friends of Bronson LakeView, under the leadership of its chair, Mark Bielang, for their efforts on behalf of a yes vote,” Berglin added. “We're looking forward to a bright new future for quality healthcare in eastern Van Buren County and beyond through the shared vision of Bronson and LakeView.”

The election results allow the two organizations to move forward with plans for Bronson to acquire 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.

The process of LakeView becoming a Bronson subsidiary will now move on to state approval that should be concluded by year-end. The hospital is expected to begin serving the community as Bronson LakeView Hospital on January 1, 2008.

“This is great news for patients in Van Buren County,” said Bronson President & CEO Frank J. Sardone. “We would like to thank the voters and LakeView employees for their strong support and approval of having one unified healthcare system in the area. We are certain this will result in improved quality and efficiencies, as well as better access to specialty services in Van Buren County in the years ahead.”

Bronson is committed to investing more than $20 million to grow programs, services, facilities and technology to match the needs of patients and families in Van Buren County. 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.

Bronson LakeView Hospital will be governed by the Bronson Healthcare Group board of directors, which oversees all parts of the Bronson system. Additionally, a community advisory council of representatives from the LakeView service area will be formed to advise on annual strategic and financial investments. The council will annually review expenses to ensure the financial commitment to the community outlined in the purchase agreement has been satisfied.

As both organizations move forward with the transition of LakeView and its affiliates to Bronson, no major changes in staffing or services are anticipated.

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.

State approval of the sale is expected in December, and January 1, 2008 is the target date for the LakeView organization to begin doing business under the Bronson umbrella.

About Bronson

Bronson Healthcare Group is one of Kalamazoo’s largest employers. For five consecutive years, it has been ranked by Working Mother magazine and for three straight years by FORTUNE as one of the nation’s 100 best companies to work for. With a workforce of more than 4,100, Bronson makes a significant contribution to the local economy. Annually, Bronson provides more than $37 million in community benefits through outreach and charitable care for the un- and under-insured. Bronson also serves the largest percentage of Medicaid patients of any Michigan hospital outside of southeast Michigan.

Bronson Methodist Hospital, located at 601 John St. in downtown Kalamazoo, Mich., is the flagship of Bronson Healthcare Group, a not-for-profit healthcare system serving all of southwest Michigan and northern Indiana. With 380 licensed beds and all private rooms, Bronson Methodist Hospital provides care in virtually every specialty—cardiology, orthopedics, surgery, emergency medicine, neurology, oncology—with advanced capabilities in critical care as a Level I Trauma Center; in neurological care as a Joint Commission certified Primary Stroke Center; in cardiac care as the region’s only accredited Chest Pain Center; in obstetrics as the leading BirthPlace and only high-risk pregnancy center in southwest Michigan, and in pediatrics as one of only four children's hospitals in the state. The hospital is the recipient of the 2005 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation's highest presidential honor for quality and organizational performance excellence, and was named one of the nation's 100 Top Hospitals for 2005 by Solucient.

About LakeView

LakeView serves more than 40,000 people in Eastern Van Buren County and beyond with a complete and comprehensive healthcare system. This includes LakeView Community Hospital in Paw Paw; LakeView Family Care in Decatur, Lawton, Marcellus, Mattawan and Paw Paw; LakeView Continuing Care Center in Lawton; LakeView Pharmacy in Mattawan; Van Buren Emergency Medical Services; and the LakeView Foundation.

LakeView Community Hospital’s patient satisfaction rating for acute care is 96 percent, which is exceptional, according to the Arbor Associates research firm. More than 90 percent of LakeView’s physicians are board-certified, well above the national average of 62 percent. LakeView’s doctors give LakeView’s nurses one of the highest approval ratings in the country, as surveyed by PRC, another leading research firm. LakeView also received a Governor’s Award for patient care and safety in a critical access hospital setting.

As one of Van Buren County’s largest employers, with more than 620 employees, LakeView represents a full-service, non-profit family and community healthcare resource as well as a significant economic asset. LakeView, established in 1939 by the community, helps to foster a high quality of life in Van Buren County, Southwest Michigan and beyond. LakeView invested more than $2.6 million last year in the care of patients who could not afford pay for the care they received.