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Published: Wednesday, 5/26/2010

St. Luke's plans to join ProMedica Health System

St. Luke's Hospital — the Toledo area's last independent hospital, which has been shut out of lucrative insurance contracts and struggled financially in recent years — plans to join ProMedica Health System this summer.

After four months of official discussions preceded by many more months of talks, a definitive agreement was signed Tuesday and announced Wednesday to St. Luke's employees. As part of the agreement, St. Luke's will retain its name, management, and local community board.

Next, St. Luke's and ProMedica will take 60 days to do due diligence and provide notice to the Ohio Attorney General before finalizing the agreement. Details, including the future of St. Luke's hospital services and 1,500 employees, have not yet been discussed, hospital leaders said.

Joining a nonprofit system that is locally governed and has its own insurance company and other integrated services is crucial to St. Luke's as U.S. health-care reforms progress, said Dan Wakeman, St. Luke's president and chief executive.

Oostra, Wakeman Oostra, Wakeman
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"It's the right thing to do right now," he said.

Mr. Wakeman and Randy Oostra, ProMedica president and chief executive, sat down with The Blade at St. Luke's on Wednesday morning to discuss the definitive agreement.

"We think it's a really, really good fit, and the more you start working together, the more good things we can do together," Mr. Oostra said.

St. Luke's last year had considered affiliating with the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio, but those talks were suspended. The Maumee hospital also had talked with Mercy, as well as tried to negotiate better health insurance contracts to remain independent.

Prior local hospital consolidations have resulted in Mercy and ProMedica, which in the Toledo area includes Toledo Hospital, Toledo Children's Hospital, Flower Hospital in Sylvania, and Bay Park Community Hospital in Oregon. The University of Toledo Medical Center is a public institution, and Mercy is part of Catholic Healthcare Partners of Cincinnati.

St. Luke's got its start in 1898, when Toledo surgeon Dr. William Gillette opened a health clinic on the corner of Robinwood Avenue and Virginia Street.

In 1906, the 50-bed Robinwood Hospital opened, the fourth hospital in the Toledo area. It was renamed St. Luke's Hospital in 1951, and the existing Maumee facility opened in 1972.



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