As we have navigated these last three years of a global pandemic as a community, Munson Healthcare (MHC) has learned much from both listening to our patients and examining the way in which they use our services across the region.

The very challenges that accelerated advancement in areas like virtual care have also helped identify a path forward to address the enduring impact of the pandemic and meet the evolving needs of the communities we serve.

A majority of healthcare systems around the nation finished this past year with an operating loss, Munson Healthcare among them for the first time in my career.

This is important because as a nonprofit, the funds generated by the healthcare system, after expenses, are reinvested in our people, facilities, new technology and community benefit efforts.

In the past decade, rural areas like our own have seen more than 150 community hospitals close nationwide.

Over the next three years, Munson Healthcare will be implementing a Regional Care Transformation Plan to ensure a strong future for our healthcare system.

We will expand access to primary, outpatient and specialty care services in a way that provides a more seamless experience across the region.

Historically, our region has viewed Munson Healthcare as a group of eight inpatient hospitals, but today much of the care provided to our communities is provided in an outpatient setting.

We need to make it easier to access these services.

A priority of the Regional Care Transformation Plan is to make it easier to find a doctor and more convenient to schedule timely appointments for the services our communities need. Virtual and in-person options to receive home-based care will expand.

The digital upgrades currently underway will improve coordination of care by providing a single patient record that allows you and your care team to access your medical information from anywhere in the system.

Our goal is to provide patients the healthcare services they need to stay in northern Michigan and avoid having to travel long distances to facilities downstate.

Under this new plan, each of our community hospitals will continue to provide emergency services, observation and some level of inpatient care.

Just as it’s been done through development of the stroke program, Webber Heart Center, Cowell Family Cancer Center and Munson Orthopedic Institute, Munson Medical Center will continue to advance as the region’s high-level specialty care hospital.

The driving force behind the high-quality care Munson Healthcare provides is a dedicated team of healthcare professionals who improve the lives of our communities every day.

In this difficult labor market, recruiting new talent and retaining the skilled members of our existing team will remain a top priority.

Even though there is still much work to be done, we’ve hired more than 2,000 people across our system since January. This offers us optimism about staffing numbers to be able to support your long-term healthcare needs.

We have seen a great deal of change in healthcare and our community over the past three years.

This change has been hard, but I believe it will also make us better. Munson Healthcare is poised to transform care that meets the changing needs of our region and strengthens local healthcare in Traverse City and across northern Michigan.

We remain grateful for your support and the privilege of serving this community for the last century and the next 100 years to come.

Find the latest updates on Munson Healthcare’s Regional Care Transformation Plan at munsonhealthcare.org/transformation.

Ed Ness is the president and CEO of Munson Healthcare.


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