Skip to main content

Q&A About Hospital Acquisition With McLaren St. Luke's CEO

Analysis  |  By Melanie Blackman  
   October 01, 2020

Jennifer Montgomery shares what the acquisition will mean for the hospital and health system, and the strategy behind it.

McLaren Health Care acquired St. Luke's Hospital in Maumee, Ohio, effective today in a move "to start to develop as a midwestern regional health system," says President and CEO Jennifer Montgomery, BSN, MSA, FACHE, who leads the newly acquired hospital. The hospital has been renamed as McLaren St. Luke's.

"This is a significant step for McLaren as we look to grow into surrounding states from our home base here in Michigan," said McLaren Health Care President and CEO Phil Incarnati, in a press release.

"This is going to be a great thing for Northwestern Ohio, and we're going to be able to strengthen healthcare here and support the community and the needs," Montgomery tells HealthLeaders.

In a recent interview, Montgomery talks about her healthcare background, her new role, and the strategy behind the acquisition.

The transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity.

HealthLeaders: What has your career journey been like starting as a staff nurse to then entering the C-suite as a CNO, then your more recent move to CEO?

Jennifer Montgomery: I have had an amazing career so far, and I have met some of the best mentors along the way that have always pushed and challenged me to learn more and do more.

Back when I became a nurse in 1993, I was focused on cardiac nursing and spent many years doing that. And then as I was exposed to more things, I could make a bigger impact, and the bigger impact I made, the more exposure I got to other things. It was just a natural progression along the way.

Every job, I say, is my favorite job. So, right now I say, being a CEO is the best job in the world. And it is the best job. I could not imagine doing anything else. And I think my clinical background from earlier in my career helped me to make better decisions. It also helps me to relate with the physicians and the clinicians that I'm working with every day.

St. Luke's is the newest hospital acquired by McLaren Corporation, so I feel honored to be able to be the first CEO here and to help [the hospital] make that transition into the McLaren family.

HL: What was the strategy behind McLaren Health Care expanding its market to Ohio?

Montgomery: Part of what the health system does is we are a community-based hospital health system. We don't have a main quaternary center where we have smaller hospitals sending patients to our larger hospitals. We do that in some areas, but it's a very small part of our business.

What we try to do is take community hospitals and let them work to their highest level, because McLaren's philosophy is to keep care local. We want to look at hospitals that have the potential to offer high-tech, high-acuity roles in their community, so that we can continue to support the community hospital, and then the hospital supports the community. It's kind of a symbiotic relationship.

When we looked at leaving Michigan, we looked at Ohio as the next place to do that. [McLaren St. Luke's is] only about 20 minutes south of the Michigan border, so we are able to have some synergies with Michigan and start to develop as a midwestern regional health system.

HL: What was the strategy for St. Luke's Hospital to join with McLaren Health Care?

Montgomery: What St. Luke's gains in this partnership is an ability to be part of a larger system. [In a larger system] you have better buying power when you're working with vendors; you also have a higher recruiting level. McLaren has several residency programs throughout Michigan, and St. Luke's has a family practice residency [in Ohio]. [We're] better able to capture those great clinicians that make [our] organization so strong. And then working to deal with population health management … between the two states.

HL: What investments will McLaren Health Care make to enhance services and strengthen and grow St. Luke's presence in the community?

Montgomery: The first thing we'll be doing is looking at the service lines that St. Luke's provides. Right now, St. Luke's is a high-level provider in stroke care. Expanding from that, we'll look at the cardiac service line; we'll be looking at what do we need to do in the ICUs to update the facilities and the technology. [We'll also look at] what can we do along the lines of cancer and expanding cancer care in northwestern Ohio? And then general surgery, which is something that is key to community hospitals.

“This is going to be a great thing for Northwestern Ohio, and we're going to be able to strengthen healthcare here and support the community and the needs.”

Melanie Blackman is a contributing editor for strategy, marketing, and human resources at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

Photo credit: Photo courtesy of McLaren Health Care


McLaren St. Luke's, previously St. Luke's Hospital, is the newest hospital acquired by McLaren Health Care.

McLaren Health Care will reevaluate and make investments in the hospital's service lines to strengthen and grow its presence in the community, according to Jennifer Montgomery, president and CEO of McLaren St. Luke's.

Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.