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BAMC Chooses Aurora Health Care for Minority Partnership

Bay Area Medical Center Board of Directors at a meeting Thursday, Sept. 26, took its next step in establishing a strategic minority partnership by unanimously authorizing the negotiation of a Letter of Intent with Aurora Health Care.

“Our board began this process in mid-2012 by first determining that a minority partnership was in BAMC’s best interest,” explained President and CEO Ed Harding. “They then established what such a partnership should provide to BAMC before asking the question ‘Who should that minority partner be?’.”

The Board identified key requirements such as access to capital to support facilities expansion, access to managerial and clinical expertise, a future growth strategy and access to an established Accountable Care Organization, one of the key provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

“After an exhaustive review that involved nine different health systems, our board has determined that Aurora Health Care best meets those requirements,” Board Chairman Tony Furton said.

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora offers services at 15 hospitals, more than 150 clinics and over 70 retail pharmacy sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Aurora employs 28 primary care and specialty providers at five clinics in the Marinette area, including an ambulatory surgery center, an enhanced diagnostic imaging center, a Vince Lombardi Cancer Clinic and an on-site pharmacy. In addition, Aurora and BayCare Clinic provide 15 additional outreach providers and maintain strong relationships with other local partners to provide surgical services, such as ear, nose and throat, podiatry and orthopedics.

Since this search began, the BAMC Board made it very clear that they were not interested in pursuing a full-asset merger or sale with any organization and that local control by a local board of directors would be the most important aspect of any such partnership. “Aurora has agreed to that critical requirement,” Furton pointed out.

“We are pleased that Bay Area Medical Center has expressed an interest in enhancing its relationship with Aurora Health Care,” said Brad Hahn, executive vice president of the north region for Aurora Health Care. “We look forward to continued discussions about working together to provide high-quality health care to the Marinette/Menominee community.”

It is expected to take three to four weeks to negotiate the Letter of Intent, which as the name implies, will outline the broad intents of both parties entering into such an agreement, Harding explained.

After that, both organizations will conduct due diligence and negotiate a final definitive agreement that will then require BAMC Board approval. That agreement will require regulatory review and approval which could take two to three months before the partnership is finalized.

During this period of further discussion Harding indicated that “I expect a ‘business as usual’ approach to how our organization operates during this time.”

“The healthcare landscape is unsettled and changing rapidly,” Harding said. “Although this agreement is not yet final, our board has taken an important and exciting step for preserving and enhancing our future ability to deliver the quality healthcare our community has come to expect from us.”


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