IHA Withdraws Interest In Bringing Healthcare To Saline

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Saline has spent a considerable amount of time and effort over the course of the Covid era to bring more medical options to the town. Councilor Jack Ceo told City Council on January 24 that IHA Cares had approached the healthcare task force that he is part of with Councilor Dawn Krause and others, with interest. But IHA quickly then pulled out after they attempted to begin talks to work out what IHA needed and what the city was interested in providing.

“Apparently Dawn Krause, and a couple of the other members of the task force, had earlier contact with one of the representatives from IHA,” Ceo said. IHA sent them a “letter of intent … expressing their interest in Lot 20A in the industrial park.”

Saline has relied on medical facilities mostly in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti ever since the Saline Hotel closed.

Mayor Brian Marl said that when he found out that IHA was withdrawing, he found the news “very disappointing, because we were in the earliest of preliminary stages. They had expressed interest. We had acknowledged their interest and countered with some questions and priorities that we had. We expressed a desire to meet, to talk about these issues further. … They were uninterested in discussing our key priorities and indicated that they will be looking elsewhere in the greater Saline community.”

The Council and administration have made a concerted effort to try and attract healthcare providers to Saline or one of its neighboring townships, aiming to create a medical center for the entire southern part of Washtenaw County.

“IHA values the partnership with the city in identifying health care needs within the community. The process the city has undertaken has been thorough and robust and paints a clear picture of the need for high quality, local health care services,” IHA Director of Marketing and Communications Amy Middleton told the Sun Times News in an emailed statement. “While the parcel of land in question is no longer an option for IHA due [to] the size of the property, [six and a half] acres, IHA is committed to building a new medical center that will offer those services and is in active negotiations on other options that are sized to meet our needs.”

Ceo told the Sun Times News that the committee will continue undeterred in engaging with other healthcare providers in the area.

“It sounds like they just want to consider other options in the area. The city was interested in working with them but wanted to make sure … that they were going to be able to meet the needs of the healthcare task force…” City Manager Colleen O’Toole said. “We certainly appreciate working with them and would be happy to in the future. But at this time they indicated that they were going to consider other options. So, my mentality is that the door remains open and we’re going to work hard to trying to attract healthcare options to the community.”

Image Credit: City of Saline Twitter.

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