October 31, 2012 – Beaumont Health System, Royal Oak, Mich., and Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, signed a letter of intent to merge, creating a new not-for-profit system with eight hospitals. Terms for the agreement call for the new system to have a single board made up equally of representatives from both systems and for the organizations’ foundations to be combined under a single, to-be-determined name, according to a news release. Both existing systems, though, would keep their own names, and their respective medical staffs and physician groups would remain separate. The organizations hope to improve coordination of care and access for patients. “Both systems recognize that the way healthcare is provided today—where it is offered, how it is paid for, how it is measured—is changing dramatically,” said Steve Howard, chairman of the Beaumont’s board of directors, in the news release. “Reimbursement for care is declining, the care itself is shifting to more convenient outpatient settings and more emphasis is being placed on keeping people healthy, not just treating them when they are sick.” Beaumont and Henry Ford have agreed to negotiate exclusively, and expect to complete a definitive agreement for creating the new system during the first half of 2013, according to the release.