Sparrow Joining U-M Health Under Proposed Agreement

LANSING, MI – Sparrow Health System will join University of Michigan Health under a proposed agreement officials said will expand services to mid-Michigan residents, provide access to the highest level of care, improve facilities and technology, and begin a new chapter in Sparrow’s storied history.

The Sparrow Health System Board of Directors approved the idea of moving ahead with the agreement on Nov. 28.The U-M Board of Regents approved moving ahead with the agreement at its Dec. 8 meeting.

Sparrow Health System President and CEO James F. Dover said joining U-M Health will “have a far-reaching impact on Sparrow” and mid-Michigan, expanding access to clinical care throughout the region and, ultimately, statewide.

“The partnership with University of Michigan Health provides Sparrow the opportunity to take a greater leadership role in improving the health of the communities we serve,” Dover said. 

Added Sparrow Health System Board Chair John Pirich: “This enables Sparrow to achieve our long-term strategy of helping to create a statewide system of care and allows us to accelerate growth and continue our 126-year commitment to providing world-class care close to home.”

U-M President Santa Ono pointed out that an affiliation agreement signed by the two organizations in 2019 for pediatric services paved the way for ongoing collaboration between the two systems. 

“The mission, vision and values of the two organizations are aligned with a common goal to deliver on the promise of nationally renowned clinical excellence in an accessible setting,” Ono said.

Paul Brown, chair of the U-M Board of Regents, said the agreement “strengthens U-M Health’s ability to provide quality healthcare in communities beyond southeast Michigan, expanding our mission as a statewide referral site for the most critically ill.”

“For University of Michigan Health, this is an important step toward our long-term vision of a statewide system of highly coordinated care; a vision that Sparrow also embraces and is excited to build toward,” said Dr.  Marschall S. Runge, CEO of Michigan Medicine, dean of the U-M Medical School and executive vice president for medical affairs at the University of Michigan. “Upon closing, U-M Health will create a clinical care network that builds upon the strengths of the world-class U-M academic medical center and a very successful community-based health system.

“Together the two organizations will focus on bringing increased health care innovation to mid-Michigan and beyond,” Runge added.

LaKeeya Tucker, D.O., medical chief of staff for E.W. Sparrow Hospital, said as a clinician she is excited about working with her U-M Health colleagues to improve access to world-class care throughout the region.

“We are doing something special here by combining the community care and know-how that Sparrow has long been known for with the clinical expertise and commitment of U-M Health,” Tucker said.

University of Michigan Health has committed $800 million in investment to Sparrow Health System, which will be funded through facility projects, operations, and strategic investments over eight years.

“We will invest in numerous improvement and growth initiatives based on community need, such as renovations to our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at E.W. Sparrow Hospital in Lansing and geographic growth across the communities we serve.  This will also strengthen our key service lines including cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, and neuroscience,” said Joseph Ruth, Sparrow Health System’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “This infusion of investment into Sparrow services will provide job growth and career development opportunities that would not otherwise be available to our caregivers.”

U-M Health President Dr. David Miller said the agreement “builds upon the successful partnership formed through U-M Health at Sparrow Children’s Center.”

“This established partnership has clarified the strong cultural alignment between U-M Health and Sparrow, while providing incredibly important pediatric care to families throughout Mid-Michigan. Our expanded partnership with Sparrow will further strengthen U-M Health’s ability to provide quality health care in communities beyond southeast Michigan,” Miller said. 

The partnership will also build on U-M Health’s minority investment in Sparrow’s health plan, Physicians Health Plan (PHP). PHP provides high-quality healthcare coverage to more than 70,000 members and 300 employers across Michigan and includes a Medicare Advantage plan.

Sparrow has more than 115 sites of care, including E.W. Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, community hospitals in Carson City, Charlotte, Ionia and St. Johns, Sparrow Specialty Hospital, and nearly 500 Sparrow primary care providers and specialists serving patients across the region.  

With the addition of Sparrow, U-M Health will become a $7-billion organization with more than 200 care sites across the state.