Final Agreement Clears Way for Innovative Cardiovascular Collaboration to Serve West Michigan

Grand Rapids, Mich., July 26, 2021 – With a joint operating agreement finalized today, the Cardiovascular Network of West Michigan ushers in a new era of collaboration, innovation, expertise and choice for patients across the region.

The network brings together Metro Health – University of Michigan Health (becoming University of Michigan Health-West), Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, and Mercy Health Muskegon. It will leverage the expertise of University of Michigan Health’s Frankel Cardiovascular Center, one of the nation’s highest-rated centers for cardiology and heart surgery, and the No. 1-rated program in the state.

Network partners have selected key leadership to advance their plans, which include expanding open-heart surgery availability in the Grand Rapids market, adding choice to the largest population center in the state currently with only a single open-heart program.

The network’s inaugural medical director will be Dr. Himanshu J. Patel, a U-M cardiac surgeon, professor of cardiac surgery and section head of Adult Cardiac Surgery at the Frankel Cardiovascular Center. The administrative director will be Kristine Todd, DNP, FNP-BC, RN-BC, clinical service director for heart and vascular services at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. The network also announced the appointment of two associate medical directors: Dr. Matt Sevensma of Metro Health – University of Michigan Health, and Dr. Eugene Chung of Michigan Medicine.

Pictured left to right: Dr. Himanshu J. Patel, Kristine Todd, DNP, Dr. Matt Sevensma, Dr. Eugene Chung

Patel said the network builds on a strong history of cardiovascular collaboration each of the partners has established with University of Michigan Health.

“Each partner has an overarching interest in providing high-quality care and choice for West Michigan patients,” Patel said. “University of Michigan Health is bridging the gap between these like-minded organizations serving the fastest-growing part of the state.”

Dr. Peter Hahn, CEO of Metro Health – University of Michigan Health, said the network is envisioned as the region’s leading program for open-heart, structural heart and advanced electrophysiology services.

“This will show what is possible through innovative regional collaboration, working in tandem with one of the highest-ranked heart programs in the nation, University of Michigan Health,” Hahn said.

“Mercy Health’s comprehensive heart program provides patient-focused care and the highest quality outcomes. The Cardiovascular Network of West Michigan will elevate this commitment to our community,” said Matthew Biersack, MD, interim president and chief medical officer of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. “Patients will have a seamless experience, without regard to geography. At whatever site patients seek care, they will have access to the most appropriate and advanced expertise across the network.”

“We are proud to contribute to the regional approach of the network with high-quality, patient-focused heart and vascular services,” said Gary Allore, president of Mercy Health Muskegon. “Our open-heart program in Muskegon has already seen a great partnership with Michigan Medicine, so we are happy to further this collaboration in the Grand Rapids community.”

Physicians will confer on cases in a collaborative approach. This is similar to the tumor boards established by the Cancer Network of West Michigan, which the same partners established last year to provide broader regional access to advanced, state-of-the-art, comprehensive diagnosis, treatment and support.

Work is under way at the Metro Health Hospital campus in Wyoming to accommodate the advanced services – such as coronary artery bypass surgery, cardiac valve repair or replacement, and repair for birth defects – to be provided by the network.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services earlier this year issued a certificate of need authorizing open-heart procedures at the Wyoming site. Later phases of the network’s plans call for a dedicated facility.

All hospital providers and staff will remain employed by their respective health systems, and no staff reductions will take place as a result of this agreement.

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About Mercy Health: Mercy Health, a member of Trinity Health, is a regional, multi-campus, Catholic health care system serving West Michigan and the lakeshore with 3 hospital campuses, 736 hospital beds, and more than 8,000 colleagues, as well as hospice, home health and long-term care service offerings. Mercy Health has annual operating revenues of about $1.4 billion and returns about $80 million to its communities annually through charity care and community benefit programs. Mercy Health Physician Partners, a multi-specialty medical group, employs more than 960 physicians and advanced practice professionals in more than 80 physician offices in Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Holland and along the West Michigan lakeshore. Mercy Health is committed to being a trusted health partner for life, transforming the communities we serve, by providing high-quality care that is the most accessible, compassionate and personalized in West Michigan. Visit us at MercyHealth.com.

About Metro Health: University of Michigan Health (becoming University of Michigan Health-West): As an affiliate of University of Michigan Health, the organization provides a world-class system of leading-edge healthcare services with its patient-centric, holistic approach. The 208-bed hospital anchors Metro Health Village in Wyoming, Michigan, serving more than 250,000 patients annually. More than 61,000 emergency patients are treated each year at the hospital, a Verified Level II Trauma Center. Primary and specialty care services are provided at 30 locations throughout West Michigan. More than 500 staff physicians provide state-of-the-art treatment for a full array of health needs, including for cancer, heart and vascular disease, stroke and trauma. As a certified Comprehensive Stroke Center and accredited Chest Pain Center, specialty services include neurosciences, pulmonology, gastroenterology, cardiology, endocrinology, OB/GYN, bariatrics, orthopedics and wound care. In 2021, Metro Health was the only Grand Rapids area hospital included among the “101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” by the National Association of Business Resources. The hospital is committed to promoting health and wellness through the Metro Health Hospital Foundation, Live Healthy community outreach classes and educational programs. More information is available at MetroHealth.net.

About Michigan Medicine: At Michigan Medicine, we advance health to serve Michigan and the world. We pursue excellence every day in our three hospitals, 125 clinics and home care operations that handle more than 2.3 million outpatient visits a year, as well as educate the next generation of physicians, health professionals and scientists in our U-M Medical School.

Michigan Medicine includes the top ranked U-M Medical School and University of Michigan Health, which includes C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, University Hospital, the Frankel Cardiovascular Center and the Rogel Cancer Center. Michigan Medicine’s adult hospitals were ranked no. 11 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report in 2020-21 and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital was ranked #1 in Michigan and only children’s hospital in the state to be nationally ranked in all 10 pediatric specialties analyzed by U.S. News and World Report for 2021-22. The U-M Medical School is one of the nation’s biomedical research powerhouses, with total research funding of more than $500 million. More information is available at MichiganMedicine.org.

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