Local Projects Advance

June 4, 2007
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GRAND RAPIDS — Two health care projects head to Lansing for review after receiving the nod earlier this month from the Alliance for Health’s Evaluation Board.

Spectrum Health plans to install a $1.3 million room on the second floor at the Blodgett campus in suburban East Grand Rapids that will be used for diagnostic cardiac catheterization and other procedures. The hospital estimates that the facility will be used for about 800 procedures a year and will generate about $3.3 million in income in fiscal 2008, the first year of operation. The bulk of that will come from Medicare and HMO payments.

In 2004, Spectrum shifted most cardiac services to the Meijer Heart Center at the downtown Butterworth Campus, discontinuing cardiac catheterization at Blodgett.

Dentist Richard Schondelmayer’s plan is to locate a dental CT scanner in an office building on Parchment Drive SE. Schondelmayer, of White Cloud, has created a company called Smart Beam, which will market scanner services to dentists and specialists in the Grand Rapids area. He said the scanner is particularly useful in planning for surgical dental implants, a growing business in the field. He estimates a capital cost of $182,000, with revenues of $334,000 on an estimated 300 scans in the first year of operation.

Evaluation board members expressed several concerns about the new technology, which remains under review at the state level. Reading of the CT images and Medicaid patient access drew attention.

“The proposed margin of revenue over expense will greatly exceed the general Alliance for Health guidelines for not-for-profit organizations,” the Alliance for Health analysis stated. “However, Dr. Schondelmayer is not a nonprofit corporation, and he will be taxed on profits made in this venture.”

Both proposals now will undergo scrutiny by the Michigan Department of Community Health before a decision is made on whether to issue certificates of need.

Health Info Sessions Set

WEST MICHIGAN—The Alliance for Health, a local, nonprofit health care planning agency, is hosting six meetings around West Michigan focusing on a quality and information technology initiative being partly funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Health Care Vision 2020 is a regional plan to build an interconnected, electronic health information infrastructure. Open to the public, meetings explaining the program are slated for:

7:30-9 a.m. June 7, Muskegon Community College, Blue & Gold Room, Muskegon

5:30-7 p.m. June 12, Priority Health Conference Center, Grand Rapids

5:30-7 p.m. June 14, Principal Health PHO, Holland

5:30-7 p.m. June 19, Pennock Health Services Conference Center, Hastings

5:30-7 p.m. June 21, Spectrum Health United Memorial Conference Room, Greenville

5:30-7 p.m. June 27, Memorial Medical Center of West Michigan, Ludington

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded Alliance for Health an “Aligning Forces for Quality” grant of $600,000 over three years. The grant’s goals are to improve the quality of care for those with chronic diseases in doctors’ offices, clinics and other outpatient settings by helping providers improve their ability to deliver quality care; to help providers measure and publicly report their performance; and help patients and consumers understand their role in demanding high quality care. 

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