Donors urge Beaumont to delay merger until 'current crisis' is resolved

More than 20 Beaumont donors sent a letter to the Southfield, Mich.-based health system's board requesting immediate action on concerns raised by physicians and nurses, according to Crain's Detroit Business

The donors' letter refers to a survey, completed by 1,500 of the system's 5,000 physicians, that revealed a lack of confidence in Beaumont's leadership and concerns about its proposed merger with Advocate Aurora Health, which has dual headquarters in Milwaukee and Downers Grove, Ill. A recent survey of 681 registered nurses at Beaumont was also highly critical of management and operations. 

The letter also raised concerns about physician departures, according to Crain's

"The loss of (medical) staff as well as recent surveys, including those by doctors and nurses, demonstrate something is seriously amiss," the letter states, according to Crain's. "This situation must be addressed and improved immediately and with an immediate sense of urgency. This must be your primary focus."

The letter, which sources told Crain's was delivered to the board Sept. 18, calls for delaying the merger with Advocate Aurora. 

"Among other things, we believe this requires that the proposed transaction with Advocate Aurora Health should not divert your attention or even be considered unless and until the current crisis at Beaumont is fully addressed," the letter states, according to Crain's

Earlier this month, Crain's reported that a group of donors met with Beaumont's board vice chair to discuss concerns about the system. At that time, Beaumont told Becker's Hospital Review that the system appreciates its donors and is keeping them informed. 

"Our donors are very important to us and we sincerely appreciate all of their investments in operating and capital funds to support major clinical initiatives throughout Beaumont Health," Beaumont Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer Margaret Cooney said in a statement to Becker's. "Over the past few months, we have been working closely with our donors to keep them informed, answer their questions and address their concerns, if any, through phone calls, emails and meetings. We will continue to have an open dialogue with our donors and welcome feedback, comments and questions from them."

On Sept. 22, Beaumont told Crain's that the board is planning more meetings with donors. 

"We greatly appreciate our donors' support over the years and we take their concerns seriously," Beaumont told Crain's. "We will continue to meet with as many donors as possible, as they have requested. Some meetings have already taken place and more are scheduled. During these meetings, we discuss the COVID-19 crisis in detail and comment on our quality measures, finances and plans for the future. We also want to share objective and validated data to evaluate organizational management performance." 

The Beaumont board of trustees confirmed in mid-August that it is delaying a vote on the planned merger with Advocate Aurora. The trustees decided to postpone the vote after physicians presented the results of the survey. 

Read the full Crain's article here

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