Sparrow, Michigan Medicine sign affiliation agreement

Pediatric services joint venture will kick off expansion of access to specialty care for patients in the mid-Michigan region

Author | Mary Masson

Sparrow Health System and Michigan Medicine, the academic medical center of the University of Michigan, have signed an affiliation agreement paving the way for ongoing collaboration between the two systems.

Both organizations are committed to providing the right care, at the right time, in the right place through shared clinical goals and ensuring patients have access to specialty care options near their local communities.

The first implementation of the agreement will be a joint venture integrating the pediatric services offered through Sparrow Children’s Center in Lansing.  The joint venture is expected to launch in early May.

“It’s a privilege to partner with Sparrow to provide care for children and families in the communities of mid-Michigan,” says Chris Dickinson, M.D., interim executive director of C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. “Our commitment is always to keep care close to home for families, and this relationship will help us do that.”

C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, the only children’s hospital in Michigan ranked among the nation’s top children’s hospitals in every specialty evaluated by U.S. News & World Report, already provides pediatric cardiology, pediatric gastroenterology and pediatric surgery services through clinics at the Sparrow Medical Professional Building. The new relationship is expected to strengthen existing clinical partnerships and create additional pediatric specialty service availability in the communities Sparrow serves.

These expanded services will complement the care already provided by MSU and Sparrow employed physicians. This does not impact Sparrow’s existing relationship with MSU’s College of Human Medicine and College of Osteopathic Medicine.

“Our organizations are coming together to mutually serve our pediatric patients,” said Karen Kent VanGorder, M.D., S.V.P. and chief medical and quality officer, Sparrow Health System. “Sparrow physicians, and the children we care for, will have expanded access to the latest pediatric expertise and clinical care resources.”

In addition to expanded access to pediatric specialty care, hospital officials predict the collaboration will significantly enhance the patient experience and lead to more coordinated care for pediatric patients from around the region.

The second implementation of the affiliation agreement is expected to be a minority investment by Michigan Medicine in Sparrow’s health plan, Physicians Health Plan.   This investment is expected to be completed in six months or less.

The affiliation agreement also signals an intention to work together on future opportunities that may be developed by teams of physicians and leaders from both systems. 

Both organizations will now appoint representatives to an oversight committee that will approve all proposed cooperative agreements, and to teams that will work on specific proposals.

“Collaboration in this form brings together the best talents of both entities in a meaningful way that can greatly benefit our most vulnerable patients. This partnership with Michigan Medicine is representative of Sparrow’s culture where the patient is always the top priority in decision making and where all Sparrow team members can be the very best they can be for every patient, every time,” said Joseph J. Ruth, acting president and chief executive officer, Sparrow Health System.

“Sparrow is an important part of the fabric of the mid-Michigan community, and their commitment to delivering high quality care is clear,” said David Spahlinger, M.D., president of the University of Michigan Health System, the clinical care enterprise of Michigan Medicine.

“We’re honored to partner with Sparrow physicians and staff and look forward to many opportunities to reinvent and strengthen care for our communities together.”

About Sparrow Health System: Sparrow is mid-Michigan’s premier healthcare organization that includes hospitals in Lansing, St. Johns, Ionia and Carson City as well as Physicians Health Plan, Sparrow Physicians Health Network, the Sparrow Medical Group and the Michigan Athletic Club. Sparrow is affiliated with Michigan State University’s three human health colleges and is the first health system to enter into partnership with the prestigious Mayo Clinic Care Network in Michigan. Through these partnerships and the dedication of our 10,000 Caregivers, Sparrow pursues a vision to be nationally recognized as a leader in quality and Patient experience. For more information, visit

About Michigan Medicine: At Michigan Medicine, the academic medical center of University of Michigan, we advance health to serve Michigan and the world. We pursue excellence every day in our three hospitals, 40 outpatient locations and home care operations that handle more than 2.1 million outpatient visits a year. Michigan Medicine hospitals were ranked number 5 in the country by U.S. News and World Report for 2018-19. The U-M Medical School is one of the nation's biomedical research powerhouses, with total research funding of more than $470 million. More information is available at

Media Contact Public Relations

Department of Communication at Michigan Medicine

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