Patients And Partnerships

February 11, 2007
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BYRON TOWNSHIP — Saint Mary’s Health Care and eight other health care providers are partners in the new, user-friendly Saint Mary’s Southwest outpatient campus, which opens today on 23 acres just south of the M-6 freeway.

In the spirit of one-stop shopping, patients will be able to visit a doctor, fill a prescription, get lab tests, X-rays, MRIs and CT scans, have physical therapy and outpatient surgery, seek help for urgent injuries and illnesses, and have a cup of coffee — all under one roof.

“It’s like a hospital without beds. It’s everything you need for outpatient,” said Roberta Jelinek, Saint Mary’s director of strategic initiatives and project manager for Saint Mary’s Southwest.

The partners include Elite Plastic Surgery, Hand Surgery Centre, Rehab Pros, River Valley Orthopedics, Saint Mary’s Pharmacy, Saint Mary’s Laboratory, Saint Mary’s Imaging, Southwest Surgery Center, Saint Mary’s Urgent Care Plus, and Advantage Health Physician Network, a doctor’s group partly owned by Saint Mary’s Health Care.

Jelinek said the $36.5 million facility will house more than 100 jobs, with at least 75 of them a combination of transfers and new hires for Saint Mary’s. Advantage Health will eventually have 14 to 18 doctors at the location, said Dr. Neil Colegrove, “physician champion” for Saint Mary’s Southwest.

Colegrove said the new approach provides a way for health care providers who have long been collaborating to take that effort to a new level for the benefit of patients.

“It takes years and years of developing relationships in order to say to each other, ‘How can we better do this?’” Colegrove said. “If we can improve that through technology and the proximity of us talking to each other, it will translate into more coordinated benefits for the patients.”

In a unique arrangement, the entities will have access to each other’s schedules and will be able to book appointments for each other. For example, with a laboratory on site, results of blood tests will be available during the same appointment. Saint Mary’s Southwest will offer state of the art digital mammography and a 64-slice CT scanner.

Jelinek said the center reflects some of the lessons learned in the design of Saint Mary’s Lacks Cancer Center. For example, colors of finish materials, such as carpet, were chosen to help patients find their way in the 86,000-square-foot, two-story facility at 2373 64th St. SW, at the corner of Byron Center Avenue. Windows are placed to provide natural light in important areas, from an operating room to physical rehab rooms. The hospital is also planning to seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for the new building.

Even staff members of the different participants will carry similar name badges and wear similar uniforms in an effort to keep the patient’s experience seamless, Jelinek said.

“Everything has been designed with the patient in mind,” she added. “Patients using both Saint Mary’s and Advantage Health Physicians Services will also only have to give their demographic information once. If they go to the lab from an Advantage Health office, they won’t have to repeat the forms.”

Saint Mary’s joins Grand Rapids’ other two hospitals, Spectrum Health and Metro Health, in building facilities in southwest Kent County. Spectrum Health’s West Pavilion at 6015 Wilson Ave. SW, near M-6, opened in January. North of the new Saint Mary’s Southwest along Byron Center Avenue, the new Metro Health Hospital is under construction and expected to open in the fall as the centerpiece of Metro Health Village. Spectrum Health also operates the South Pavilion on 68th Street SE.

Jelinek said 20 percent of Saint Mary’s patients come from 12 ZIP codes closest to the Southwest facility.

“It’s a little bit of protecting the patients in this area and keeping them coming to our system,” Jelinek added. “It’s an opportunity for (Saint Mary’s hospital) downtown for new patients to come through.”

Added Colegrove: “Granted, there’s going to be a lot of growth; there’s going to be opportunity. This is the model of care delivery throughout the country. People want a more intimate, coordinated model of care.”    

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