Summa Health has signed a letter of intent to form a strategic partnership with Southfield, Michigan-based Beaumont Health. In a statement, Summa said this signals the beginning of a process to bring the two together under Beaumont Health.
While Summa will continue to operate under the name locally and maintain local leadership, it will be a subsidiary of Beaumont.
Summa Chief Executive Officer Dr. Cliff Deveny said Beaumont understands and supports Summa’s commitment to the communities it serves and will invest in its future growth. “Our board believes Beaumont Health would position our leadership, physicians and employees for continued success and enhance the quality of care provided to our patients in Akron and Northeast Ohio."
Beaumont was formed in 2014 and since then has been strategically focused on regional expansion. This partnership is expected to allow both organizations to continue to invest in local health care and expand programs and services.
Beaumont’s CEO John Fox said the two nonprofit systems align well.
“The more we got to know about Summa, the more interested we became. And that culminated at this point to the last milestone, which was signing the letter of intent.”
Under the deal there are possibilities for Summa's insurance product, SummaCare, to expand into new markets in Ohio. And Summa's expertise in health insurance contracts and services could benefit Michigan employers.
J. B. Silvers, a professor at Case Western Reserve University, said the government has been trying to incentivize insurers and providers to work better together and health delivery organizations are going to be asked to manage more risk than they have in the past. That’s where SummaCare provides the merged health system with an advantage.
“I think the biggest aspect of SummaCare is that it’s been, oh what’s right word, training wheels maybe for learning how to deal with risk in ways that most systems haven’t had the chance to do.”
Silvers said Summa’s limited presence outside of Akron has made it difficult for SummaCare to succeed elsewhere. But he says the merged health system has a better chance of creating an attractive product where Beaumont has a strong presence.
The two entities also intend to create more opportunities for medical students.
Summa began searching for a partner last fall and said it received responses from multiple health care systems in Ohio, Michigan and other states.
Summa Health is Summit County’s largest employer. Beaumont is Michigan’s largest health care system.