CADILLAC — The largest geographical emergency medical service provider in Michigan is merging with a well-known northern Michigan company.
It was recently announced Mobile Medical Response and North Flight EMS are merging, which will add three additional counties to the 15 counties that MMR already services. North Flight EMS, which is an entity of Munson Healthcare, has been the largest emergency services provider in northern Michigan since 1986.
Through the partnership, both MMR and North Flight are ensuring strength and stability, according to a release from MMR.
“Collaboration is essential to providing the highest level of care to patients in our rural communities,‘ Ed Ness, president, and CEO of Munson Healthcare said. “MMR’s commitment to clinical excellence, patient satisfaction, and investment in technology will help us enhance the continuum of care across northern Michigan.‘
Leadership from both companies is working to ensure a smooth transition, which is expected to occur by the end of the calendar year pending the necessary approvals.
This agreement will merge the business operations of the two organizations in which most North Flight EMS staff will transition to employment with MMR. The partnership does not impact North Flight AeroMed, which is a joint venture between Munson Healthcare and Spectrum Health. As an equity partner, Munson Healthcare also will become part owner of MMR, which includes one board seat and one seat on the finance committee.
“We are excited for the opportunity to partner with Munson Healthcare in expanding our services to the residents of northern Michigan,‘ Mark Thompson, MMR CEO said. “We are committed to providing a timely response, high-quality care, and a positive experience for patients and their loved ones.‘
This partnership also will help in recruiting and retention of the top talent in a challenging job market. By combining respective recruitment and nationally accredited training programs, MMR and North Flight will work collaboratively to attract the best and brightest. Also, the new agreement will better facilitate the sharing of best practices and collaboration needed to address the challenges of emergency response and patient transport in a rural community.
During the recent Wexford County Board of Commissioners meeting, Mesick Rescue Squad Capt. Allen Sherburne addressed the commissioners regarding his concern with the merger. In particular, he expressed concern with the honoring of agreements smaller EMS has with North Flight.
Although he had these concerns, both commissioners Joe Hurlburt, who is a paramedic himself, and Mike Bengelink said as long as North Flight EMS General Manager Paul Owens continues to be part of the organization they don’t have any concerns regarding the merger or what the future holds.
MMR is a private, non-profit organization established in 1994 as a single county provider in Saginaw by Ascension St. Mary’s and Covenant HealthCare. Since its inception, MMR has partnered with many health care systems growing the organization into a fleet of over 100 emergency response vehicles, which total over 110,000 patient transports each year. In contrast, North Flight transports about 13,000 annually by ground.