Rep. Greg VanWoerkom’s plan to help North Ottawa Community Health System continue providing quality care for area residents has been signed into Michigan law.
The Grand Haven hospital recently entered into a non-binding letter of intent to discuss the feasibility of becoming part of Trinity Health Michigan. VanWoerkom sponsored House Bill 5876, which would allow this transition to happen more quickly if the health care organizations decide to proceed. The two systems already have been working in partnership for several years to improve efficiencies at NOCHS.
Gov. Whitmer announced Wednesday she had signed VanWoerkom’s bill into law.
“North Ottawa Community Health System is an essential part of our region – and we want to keep it that way,” VanWoerkom said. “This change to state law will help the hospital chart its course to a brighter future. Our community needs the hospital to continue fulfilling its mission of providing quality health care, and this legislation is another important step forward in that process.”
Voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure transferring the Grand Haven hospital to a nonprofit corporation in 1996. Previous state law would have required another vote to transfer the hospital from the current nonprofit to another nonprofit. VanWoerkom’s legislation eliminates this time-consuming and redundant step by allowing the hospital authority board to approve the transfer on its own – allowing a potential partnership to be finalized more quickly.
The hospital authority board is comprised of representatives from all six communities in the North Ottawa Community Health System coverage area – including the city of Grand Haven and Grand Haven Township, Spring Lake Township, the city of Ferrysburg, Crockery Township and Robinson Township.
Shelleye Yaklin, president of North Ottawa Community Health System, testified in support of House Bill 5876 earlier this year. Yaklin noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for hospitals across the nation – particularly for small independent hospitals that do not have the economy-of-scale staffing and supply benefits of larger health systems.
VanWoerkom, of Norton Shores, is in his second term in the Michigan House of Representatives.
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