Announcement Regarding Ascension Hospitals

GAYLORD, MICHIGAN – The Most Reverend Jeffrey J. Walsh, bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord, has announced the following change, effective today:

Today, Ascension Hospital announced the transfer of Ascension Saint Joseph Hospital in Tawas City to MyMichigan Health. There is obvious sadness with the loss of any Catholic institution, especially the last remaining Catholic health care facility in the Diocese of Gaylord.

While we will mourn this loss, we must also give thanks that hospital services will continue at the same location under the management of MyMichigan Health. I am grateful for the Ascension leadership team who worked to ensure, what we pray will be, a seamless transition of services to an organization who has made substantial commitments to current employees and a financial assistance policy similar to that of Ascension for those who struggle with economic poverty.

Like health systems across the nation, Ascension Health has been impacted by the evolving nature of health care and pressures resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic. The transition of Ascension St. Joseph to MyMichigan Health is a part of a larger transaction involving Ascension facilities in Michigan.

I extend my gratitude to all who labored to provide medical care in the Tawas City community and beyond since 1953. May God bless all the physicians, nurses, medical technicians, administrators, clerical workers and support staff who made the hospital a beacon of Christ’s light for over 70 years.

A special Mass, honoring Ascension St. Joseph Hospital's healing ministry, will be celebrated at a future date (TBA) and all are welcome to attend.

The following are points prepared by Ascension Health as part of their formal announcement:

Ascension’s commitment to their associates

  • Under the agreement, all Ascension St. Mary’s, Ascension St. Joseph and Ascension Standish clinicians and associates will be offered the opportunity to continue employment with MyMichigan Health. This includes the clinicians and associates of related Ascension Medical Group practices.
  • There are a handful of system-level associates who also support the northern ministries, and they are working with MyMichigan Health to evaluate their support moving forward.

Ascension’s commitment to the Catholic community

  • Ascension conducted thorough due diligence, values assessment and ethics discernment before coming to this decision. With its reputation for high-quality, mission-driven care and through its established local resources and focus, they are confident that MyMichigan Health will offer the community quality, life-giving care.
  • While MyMichigan is not a Catholic organization, its mission to help people live longer, better lives align to the spirit and intention of Ascension to improve the health of individuals and communities.

Why MyMichigan

  • MyMichigan Health is a regional, non-profit health system with multiple facilities in northern Michigan.
  • Their expanding network serves a 25-county region with medical centers, urgent care, home health, virtual care, and medical offices in specialties including cardiology, family medicine, hematology/oncology, neurosciences, orthopedics, pediatrics, vascular surgery.
  • MyMichigan Health is aligned in a clinical and business partnership with the University of Michigan’s academic medical center, Michigan Medicine.
  • Their integrated care system broadens access for Saginaw, Tawas City and Standish to more options for local, specialty treatment with the convenience of one system.
  • And as a regional provider with a commitment to investment in the region, this transition will ensure that caregivers and associates will be better positioned to continue caring for the community.

Next Steps

  • The transition of Ascension Michigan’s northern ministries to MyMichigan Health is expected to be finalized this summer, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including regulatory and canonical approvals.
  • Until the transition is finalized, clinicians and associates remain employed by Ascension and patients will continue to have access to the same healthcare services they always provide. There are no immediate changes and operations should continue as usual.
  • We appreciate that you may have questions. Ascension is working in close collaboration with MyMichigan Health and together will continue to share information as it becomes available.