Tenet may be in hot water if DMC-Wayne State partnership ends

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The potential end to Detroit Medical Center and Troy, Mich.-based Wayne State University Physician Group's 100-year partnership may violate the terms of Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare's 2013 agreement to purchase DMC's parent company, according to The Detroit News.

DMC and WSUPG announced May 2 they would end their partnership agreement, but potentially reversed the decision May 15 after the organizations agreed to a six-month contract extension, during which a 14-member joint advisory committee will work to develop "a new working model for the two institutions." If the committee does not reach an agreement within the first 90 days of the extension, the organizations will use the remaining 90 days to wind down their partnership arrangement.

However, the Legacy DMC board expressed concern regarding the effects of the split on DMC's "historic mission to provide medical education and research," according to a letter by the board released May 11 and obtained by the publication. The Legacy DMC board was created in 2011 to ensure DMC's owner at the time, Nashville, Tenn.-based Vanguard Health Systems, would abide by the terms outlined in its agreement to purchase DMC, according to the report. Vanguard Health Systems was acquired by Tenet in 2013.

"Legacy DMC was concerned because it appeared that two of the compliance commitments, those requiring DMC's continued support for its historic mission to provide medical education and research, could be in jeopardy [because of the potential split with WSUPG]," the board wrote. "Regardless of the outcome of the negotiations, however, Legacy DMC will request Tenet Healthcare to provide detailed information on its arrangements to ensure continuous compliance with the medical education and research commitments of the original sale agreement … [and] will continue to monitor the situation."

In a statement to Becker's Hospital Review May 15, a spokesperson for DMC said, "Our commitment to being an academic medical and research center will not change. Additionally, DMC has a well-established history of serving as the area's safety-net system. As the DMC Legacy report concluded, we have continued to stand up for all who are in need of healthcare and are committed to continuing to do the same now and into the future. And, as you know, our hospitals turn no patient away due to lack of insurance coverage because serving all in need is part of our mission."

To access The Detroit News report, click here.

Editor's noteThis article was updated at 11:50 a.m. May 15 to include additional information from Detroit Medical Center.

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