Southfield, Michigan-based Beaumont Health and Akron, Ohio-based Summa Health have signed a definitive agreement to make Summa Health a subsidiary of Beaumont Health. The deal is intended to strengthen both organizations' ability to partner in new ways to improve the quality of care and the overall health of their communities.

The two organizations signed a letter of intent in July and then began an extensive review of both organizations' clinical, regulatory and financial systems. Signing the definitive agreement is the next step in the process.

"Conversations between leaders and staff at both organizations have been going well. We very much look forward to working even more closely together now that we have a definitive agreement in place," Beaumont CEO John Fox said in a statement. "As we grow our presence in Summa's market area, our significant investments in our Michigan employees and operations will continue and be further enabled."

The newly combined organization expects to utilize the financial strength of both organizations to fund the health system's overall plan, which includes significant capital and operating projects, to drive ongoing growth in Northeast Ohio and Michigan.

Summa President and CEO Dr. Cliff Deveny added: "We are excited to deliver on our shared mission to provide compassionate, quality care and enhance the health of our communities. Our board is confident that this partnership will further our abilities to not only provide excellent clinical services throughout Northeast Ohio, but also position our leadership, physicians and employees for continued success and growth."

Summa will retain a local board to support the oversight of clinical operations in Ohio. SummaCare, Summa's health insurance operation, will remain an integral part of Summa, and the organizations will work together to identify opportunities to drive future expansion.

"Over the past few months, our team has spent a considerable amount of time with the Beaumont team," Summa Board Chair Anthony Lockhart said in a statement. "We believe that by becoming part of the Beaumont family, we will be able to gain efficiencies from being part of a larger organization, further invest in delivering high quality, patient centered care and improve local access to the services most needed by our patients and communities."

The organizations are in the process of submitting the agreement to state and federal regulatory agencies for final approval and hope the transaction will close by the end of the first quarter of 2020. Together, the combined organization will have $6.1 billion in total revenue, 45,000 employees and more than 6,000 affiliated physicians. 

Beaumont is Michigan's largest health care system with $4.7 billion in total annual net patient revenue and is most preferred for health care in Southeast Michigan, according to NRC Health survey data. Summa is one of the largest integrated health care delivery systems in Ohio with total annual revenues of $1.4 billion. The not-for-profit health system employs about 7,000 people and includes a network of four hospitals with a total of 1,300 licensed inpatient beds.