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Priority Health, Total Health Care signal intent to merge

The transaction is expected to be complete in early 2020 following approval by Total Health Care members and state officials.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Last week, Priority Health, Michigan's second-largest health insurance plan, and Total Health Care, the oldest HMO in Detroit, announced an agreement to merge their companies. The new partnership is intended to provide improved care and access for current and future members.

Both companies will maintain current operations, locations, leadership and staff, with Priority Health continuing its statewide presence, and Total Health Care headquartered in the Fisher Building in Detroit.

The transaction is expected to be complete in early 2020 following approval by Total Health Care members and state officials. As part of the merger, the two entities have also announced plans to establish a $25 million foundation aimed at improving health in Detroit area communities.

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Founded more than 30 years ago, Priority Health served more than 1 million members throughout Michigan in 2019. The company has had a presence in southeast Michigan for more than a decade and serves members throughout the Metro Detroit region from the company's Southfield, Michigan office. The organization said it sought a partnership with Total Health Care in part because of the latter's expertise and resources.

Priority Health's membership in the Metro Detroit region has grown 63% over the past five years, which it credits to having a member-centric approach. The organization also highlighted the $138 million-plus in community benefit it contributed across the state, including partnerships with more than 30 Detroit-area organizations in 2018 to support community, charitable, and business programming.

Total Health Care, which was first incorporated as Model Neighborhood Total Health Care in 1973, got its start as part of the federally subsidized model neighborhood programs under former President Lyndon B. Johnson. The organization now offers a health system that consists of more than 2,560 health care centers, 2,050 primary care physicians, and 4,500 specialists.


"I have a great deal of respect for the leadership team at Total Health Care and the business that they have built," said Joan Budden, president and CEO of Priority Health. "We're excited to welcome Total Health Care's talented leaders and employees into the Priority Health family and look forward to partnering with them to ensure that more consumers have access to high-quality, affordable health plans."

"This partnership with Priority Health, one of Michigan's leading health insurance plans, will provide Total Health Care with additional resources and stability, and allow us to continue to provide our members with the quality care they have come to expect from Total Health Care at a price they can afford," said Randy Narowitz, CEO of Total Health Care. "Our shared business values, focus on serving the member and commitment to the Detroit community make this a great fit for both companies."

Twitter: @JELagasse

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