The impending sale to Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, part of Novi-based Trinity Health, is likely to bring new doctors and services as well as a new forty-bed wing and other physical improvements. But it also may mean higher prices, fewer jobs, a greater emphasis on profitability, restrictions on contraception and sterilization, and other changes.
“Chelsea Hospital was a premier hospital for people. I’m afraid it will become [another] St. Joe’s,” says Robert Squiers, a retired state police officer who has been to both hospitals and finds St. Joe’s more impersonal. “Sometimes when things get too big, you get lost in the system.”
Kathleen Griffiths, who has served as Chelsea Hospital’s CEO for ten years, understands such concerns. But she’s confident the sale is the right move.
“It was wiser for the hospital to make this decision when we were in a strong position rather than waiting [until] when the hospital was weaker,” she says. “I’m not naive [enough] to think there won’t be changes here . . . [but] if we are a successful hospital, to suggest that St. Joe’s would want to come in and disrupt something that is working here is not a logical conclusion.”