Beaumont ends partnership plan with Ohio health system

Karen Bouffard
The Detroit News

Beaumont Health has ended a planned partnership with Akron, Ohio-based Summa Health, Michigan's largest hospital system said Friday.

The two health groups signed a partnership agreement in December that was approved by state and federal regulatory agencies, but are now finalizing plans to end the partnership plan.  

Beaumont didn't provide a reason for its change of plans. But the novel coronavirus outbreak has resulted in the hospital system's "hemorrhaging" of cash because of canceled elective surgeries due to state restrictions, other revenue losses and increased costs for personal protection equipment.

Southfield-based Beaumont Health is stopping plans to partner with Akron-based Summa Health.

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted Beaumont last month to temporarily lay off about 2,475 employees and permanently eliminate about 450 positions. The company's chief executive is taking a temporary 70% pay cut while other executives are taking salary reductions up to 45%.

Beaumont has eight hospitals, 145 outpatient sites, nearly 5,000 physicians and 38,000 employees across the region.

 "Throughout this process, each of the organizations has continued to operate independently, and each will continue to focus on providing exceptional health care services for their respective markets," Beaumont said in its statement.

"Both Beaumont Health and Summa Health value the support that each organization has received from their employees, physicians and communities throughout this process and will continue to work to meet their needs moving forward."

Beaumont is among several Michigan hospital systems that have ended or delayed expansion plans since COVID-19 swept the state this spring. Michigan Medicine, the University of Michigan health system, postponed plans to build a new $920 million adult hospital announced in September. 

Hospitals statewide discontinued revenue-generating elective procedures under an executive order by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in mid-March but many had already stopped non-essential health services in an effort to to preserve personal protective equipment and other resources.

The restrictions have been lifted with the decline in new coronavirus cases in recent weeks, but hospitals have struggled to reassure the public that it is safe to return.

Twitter: @kbouffardDN