January 4, 2016

Could Kaiser Permanente acquire Henry Ford Health Systems?

Many believe Kaiser Permanente could acquire Henry Ford Health Systems.

Many health care officials believe a merger or acquisition deal could take place between Henry Ford Health Systems and Kaiser Permanente.

Henry Ford Health System answered speculation around a possible merger by issuing a statement saying the company is constantly looking to grow and improve. However it did not comment on the rumors. Henry Ford CEO Nancy Schlichting, President Wright Lassiter and Kaiser spokesman Marc Brown all declined interviews on the matter with the Detroit news publication Crain.

"Henry Ford is continually engaged in discussions with health systems locally and nationally regarding opportunities to partner to improve quality, efficiency and the overall experience for our patients and members," said Henry Ford Health Systems in a statement. "A major focus of our discussions is on learning, benchmarking and sharing best practices. We do not comment on specific organizations or rumors."

Many believe a deal between the two organizations makes sense. Kaiser's net income increased 15 percent from 2013 to 2014. It generated $3.1 billion in 2014. Kaiser's CEO Bernard Tyson is also looking to expand operations.

"A Kaiser partnership with Henry Ford would not surprise me," said one of Crain's sources. "It does seem like a natural fit compared to the other options that have been previously explored."

John Fox, CEO of eight-hospital Beaumont Health, believes Kaiser does many great things, but the one thing it has struggled to do is expand. "It's a great model and does a lot of good things," said Fox. "But they have never been able to build size and scale except in California" and in Denver.

It would be no surprise if news continues to trickle out regarding a merger or acquisition between the two companies in the near future.