Memorial Hospital in Fremont set to join ProMedica

1/4/2014
BY MARLENE HARRIS-TAYLOR
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Memorial Hospital in Fremont
Memorial Hospital in Fremont

ProMedica and Memorial Hospital in Fremont on Friday announced plans to merge.

The Fremont hospital will be part of the ProMedica system that includes Toledo, Flower, St. Luke’s, and Bay Park hospitals in the Toledo metropolitan area.

ProMedica also has hospitals in Fostoria, Defiance, and Lima, Ohio, and in Adrian and Tecumseh, Mich.

“We are excited and happy to have them as part of the family,” said Randy Oostra, ProMedica's president and chief executive.

Memorial Hospital, which opened in 1918, has 186 licensed beds, about 600 employees, and more than 150 doctors on its medical staff. Fremont is about 33 miles southeast of Toledo.

Pamela Jensen, Memorial’s president, will keep her position. Employees will not see any major changes in the hospital’s operation in the near future, she said, but a human-resources team is working through the staffing structure’s details.

“When you are a smaller community-based hospital like us, you have a lot of people that wear different hats. A bigger system has more bench strength,” Ms. Jensen said.

Mr. Oostra said there are changes in how hospitals are reimbursed from private insurance companies and the government that are making it difficult for all hospitals, and in particular smaller hospitals, to operate profitably.

Because of those outside pressures, he said, Fremont Memorial would have to change how it operates even if it didn't join ProMedica.

“The board saw that coming and I applaud them. They were proactive and saw the trends and looked for someone like us, a community-based not-for-profit that will let the local trustees participate in the governance,” Mr. Oostra said. “We are not going to roll in tomorrow and say change this and change that. We are going to take some time and look at the processes and possibly make some changes in the future.”

He did note the hospital’s signs will probably change soon to match the signature green color ProMedica uses at its facilities.

St. Luke’s Hospital in Maumee became part of ProMedica in 2010, but the Federal Trade Commission contends that partnership is anti-competitive and has ordered divestiture.

ProMedica has appealed, a case Mr. Oostra said is pending in the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

“Right now they [St. Luke’s] are still part of ProMedica,” he said.

Contact Marlene Harris-Taylor at: mtaylor@theblade.com or 419-724-6091.