Health Care

Metro Health develops 'center of excellence' with Orthopaedic Associates of Michigan

February 28, 2013
| By Pete Daly |
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Metro Health Hospital in Wyoming is a 208 bed general acute care teaching hospital that serves more than 130,000 patients. Photo via fb.com

Metro Health announced Thursday that it will expand its partnership with Orthopaedic Associates of Michigan to jointly develop what it calls “an orthopaedic center of excellence” at the hospital in Wyoming this fall.

Metro Health has agreed to provide OAM physicians access to surgical suites there, which will further diversify the hospital’s orthopaedic services.

“We are very excited, not only to expand our partnership with OAM, but to expand the community’s choice in the delivery of quality orthopaedic care,” said Metro Health president/CEO Mike Faas. “This is a natural and positive evolution in our very successful three-year partnership with OAM.”

Orthopaedic Associates of Michigan, based in Grand Rapids, claims to be the largest orthopaedic practice in Michigan, with 30 orthopaedic surgeons trained in seven subspecialty areas within the field of orthopaedic medicine, including foot and ankle, hand and upper extremity, spine, joint, trauma, sports medicine and physical medicine.

OAM and Metro Health began a partnership in 2010 to provide outpatient surgical services at the Metro Health OAM Surgery Center at 555 MidTowne NE, off Michigan Street in downtown Grand Rapids, which Metro said is the only single-specialty orthopaedic outpatient surgical center in Michigan. OAM members provide orthopaedic outpatient surgery to more than 4,200 patients each year in three surgical suites at the facility. A fourth surgical suite is planned to open in March and will allow immediate expansion of outpatient surgical services.

According to the announcement from Metro Health, the new orthopaedic center at the hospital in Wyoming “will couple Metro Health’s community-based, patient-centered approach with the highly sub-specialized orthopaedic services of OAM.”

“By more fully integrating both outpatient and inpatient orthopaedic services, Metro and OAM will offer patients complete coordination of orthopaedic care,” said OAM President Jim Ringler, MD. He said the new center at the hospital “will drive higher quality through lower infection rates and reduced patient stays, in addition to lower costs and higher overall patient satisfaction.”

Outpatient orthopaedic surgeries will be conducted at the Metro Health OAM Surgery Center and inpatient services will be provided at the hospital. To accommodate existing outpatient surgical services currently at Metro Health campus, Metro Health will lease space at 4055 Cascade Road.

Unlike hospital operating rooms, which have a higher overhead cost to maintain, outpatient surgical facilities have less overhead, so shifting more surgeries there saves money, according to Lody Zwarensteyn, president of the Alliance for Health.

Zwarensteyn said he was briefed by Metro Hospital and OAM on their plans because a Certificate of Need must be sought from the state of Michigan, which regulates proposed hospital projects to prevent unnecessary additions to overall health care cost in the state.

A local volunteer panel at the West Michigan Alliance for Health is required by law to review applications in this region for Certificates of Need. The panel “will pass judgment on that (application) and make a recommendation to the state as to whether the proofs of need have been met, and whether it’s a good fit in the community,” said Zwarensteyn.

“If the costs are in line and it presents an advantage to the community, the Alliance clearly would recommend for it,” said Zwarensteyn. “If the proof of need cannot be met or if the costs are exorbitant, then we would have a different position.”

He added the Alliance for Health panel also looks at any resulting impact on the inpatient hospitals in the region.

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