Residency organization now GRMEP

April 26, 2010
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The former Grand Rapids Medical Education & Research Center for Health Professions has reorganized to sharpen its focus on managing residency programs at Saint Mary’s Health Care and Spectrum Health for newly-minted doctors as well as continuing education for their seasoned colleagues.

Dr. Peter Coggan said the organization’s name last month was changed to Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners. Even though the word “research” was dropped from its name, GRMEP remains the sponsor of Research Day, when nearly 200 medical residents and students in health programs present their research activities to their peers and the public. The 2010 event occurred last week at DeVos Place.

“We have almost 300 young physicians in a variety of specialty training programs,” Coggan said. “We have 17 programs in Grand Rapids.”

The partners in GRMEP, located at 1000 Monroe Ave. NW, remain the same as for its predecessor and include Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, Saint Mary’s and Spectrum Health.  Metro Health Hospital and Ferris State University are affiliates.

When the organization was formed in 1999 after Blodgett and Butterworth hospitals merged to form Spectrum Health, “there was the thought that we might actually be doing original research from GRMERC, and that never happened,” Coggan said.

With the arrival in Grand Rapids of MSU College of Human Medicine students, the five GRMERC staff members who coordinated medical student rotations became employees of the medical school, he said.

“At that same time, we went through a revision of our bylaws,” Coggan said. “Because all of this happened, it seemed like an appropriate time to revise the name. Since we’d never done research, it didn’t make any sense to leave research in the name. We also thought the name was too long and too cumbersome.”

As did GRMERC, GRMEP establishes and oversees residency programs, which employ and educate new medical school graduates, and ensures that they meet the various requirements for accreditation by Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. The ACGME accredits M.D. resident programs.

Residency programs are supported through the federal agency that oversees Medicare, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. But CMS has capped its payments for graduate medical education, making the prospect of expanding residency offerings in Grand Rapids a difficult one, Coggan said.

“There’s no more new money for expanding residences,” he said. “We have several positions above the cap that are supported either by hospital dollars or philanthropy. The only way to grow our programs, unless there is new federal funding, will be to come up with local support of some kind, which in this economy, is tough to get.”

For the tax year that ended in June, the nonprofit organization reported to the Internal Revenue Service that it collected revenue of $31.5 million, ending the year with a margin of $94,679. 

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