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Cardiology practice joins medical group

January 7, 2015
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Cardiology practice joins medical group
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One of the largest cardiology practices in the region has joined a health system’s medical group.

West Michigan Heart, or WMH, a member of Spectrum Health since 2009, formally integrated with the Spectrum Health Medical Group, or SHMG, on Jan. 1, according to the health system.

New department

The move allows Spectrum Health to develop a new Cardiovascular Services department to improve coordinated care for patients.

All of WMH’s locations will remain the same, and its Grand Rapids office, at 2900 Bradford St. NE, will become the Spectrum Health Heart and Vascular Center.

Dr. Seth Wolk, president of SHMG, said that when WMH became a wholly owned subsidiary of Spectrum Health in 2009, it was intended the practice would become part of the medical group within five years.

“This was planned at the time of their initial integration five years ago, and over the last five years, they certainly have worked shoulder to shoulder with both medical group physicians and independent physicians in the care of patients with cardiac disease,” Wolk said. “Coming into the medical group really gave us an opportunity to create a new department and that really is the emphasis of what this is all about.”

Dr. Kevin Wolschleger, president of WMH, said that the practice has "placed great importance on building relationships with regional and referring physicians."

"We're proud to bring these qualities to bear in supporting the mission of the medical group," Wolschleger said.

“Collaborative, rather than competitive”

Spectrum Health’s new Cardiovascular Services department includes three major group of physicians: vascular surgeons who have been part of the medical group for years within the department of surgery; cardiologists from West Michigan Heart; and cardiothoracic surgeons from the West Michigan Cardiothoracic Surgeons practice.

The cardiothoracic surgeons from the independent practice will also become part of the new department as of February, according to Wolk.

“What it means for patients is now we have a department where we are essentially grouping or aggregating physicians around a population of patients, who the vast majority of these patients have the same disease process,” Wolk said. “This gives us a much greater opportunity to have coordinated care. It allows the physicians to act in a much more collaborative, rather than competitive, fashion.”

Wolk added that over the last three months, after the news was made public within the Spectrum Health system, there has been an overwhelmingly positive response from both physicians and non-physicians.

“Many people view this as a very progressive step, and I want to be clear that all three of these physician groups have had multiple decades of excellent patient care and outstanding reputation in the community and are recognized certainly at a statewide level,” Wolk said. “They each bring a very rich tradition, and the exciting part is now they can work together in one group. That is what I am excited about.”

Compensation model

With the formal integration and development of the new department, Wolk said all of the three groups of physicians within Cardiovascular Services will be on a compensation model largely based on salary, with relatively small variable components.

“It is really related to quality metrics,” Wolk said. “In other words, it is now giving us the opportunity to move away from volume of care to quality of care. This is really very exciting for us to have very high clinically performing, high-quality physicians who have willingly said — with what the future looks like and what the organization’s goals are and what our goals are in terms of clinical care — this compensation model makes sense.”

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