Health Care

What began as a way for a software developer to keep families and friends updated on his daughter’s condition became a business opportunity for Open System Technologies Inc. in the health care industry. After a year-long pilot with Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids-based OST has begun to pitch the CareCircle service to health systems across the U.S., starting with the more than 100 hospitals that are already clients.

BELMONT — Trilogy Health Services LLC is planning to construct a new senior living and rehabilitation center in Plainfield Charter Township. The Belmont facility would be at 6081 West River Drive NE, on the northwest corner of West River and Jupiter Avenue, which is currently a vacant lot, said Matt Cole, senior civil engineer for Paradigm Design Inc.

Healthcare Bluebook contracts with 5,000 employers with more than 3 million employees who mostly self-fund their health coverage. Many health plans, such as Grand Rapids-based Priority Health, offer web-based platforms for members to look up prices and get an estimate on what they might pay based on their insurance coverage.

Four medical schools in Michigan partnered to direct new physicians into areas of the state that are underserved or have a shortage of physicians. Backed by a $5 million budget allocation that the four institutions matched with $1.25 million apiece, the medical schools each placed two additional medical residents this year to train and work in medically underserved areas of Michigan.

An associate of the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University will become the new president of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s next month.

KALAMAZOO — The $60 million downtown Kalamazoo cancer pavilion is one of a number of capital projects for Bronson Healthcare that are driven partly by the shift toward delivering care at outpatient settings. Along with the cancer facility across from the Medical Office Pavilion on the South Campus in downtown, Bronson plans to develop a new $22 million hospital in South Haven and invest in a $3.8 million project to renovate inpatient rooms at LakeView Hospital in Paw Paw.

Hundreds of small businesses in Michigan that use an association health plan for health benefits shouldn't worry yet about a federal judge’s ruling that struck down a 2017 executive order by President Trump. Rob Fowler, president of TranscendAHP, expects that the U.S. Department of Labor will appeal Thursday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge John Bates of the District of Columbia.

Spectrum Health-owned hospitals in Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Zeeland and St. Joseph are among seven in Michigan ranked in an annual list of the 100 Top Hospitals in the U.S.

GRAND RAPIDS — A need to generate administrative efficiencies and better compete for talent contributed to driving the affiliation between senior living providers Porter Hills Presbyterian Village Inc. in Grand Rapids and Chelsea-based United Methodist Retirement Communities Inc. 

Bronson Healthcare plans to develop a $60 million outpatient cancer pavilion at its downtown campus in Kalamazoo.

Priority Health earned more than $137 million across all business segments in 2018, led by strong growth in the bottom line at its core HMO business.

Michigan has received $10 million from New York City-based Bloomberg Philanthropies as part of a national initiative to address the opioid crisis.

Stryker Corp. today completed the acquisition of OrthoSPace Ltd., an Israeli company that developed a treatment for massive, irreparable rotator cuff tears.

An upcoming open house provides companies a chance to connect with Spectrum Health, the City of Grand Rapids, Grand Valley State University and the Grand Rapids Public Schools. The city and Spectrum Health organized the Meet the Buyers open house for 2-5p.m., Thursday, March 14 at the David D. Hunting YMCA on Lake Michigan Drive in downtown. The open house gives companies a chance to meet with buyers and learn about bidding opportunities with organizations that have $1.5 billion in annual collective buying power.

Cultivate(MD) Capital Fund II LP, a venture capital fund operated by Grand Rapids-based Genesis Innovation Group, invested in Embody Inc., a Norfolk, Va. company that developed a collagen-based micro-fiber implant for Achilles’ heel and rotator cuff repairs.

GRAND RAPIDS — Along with welcoming new leadership, the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute is preparing to launch a major initiative later this year to bring greater diversity to the region’s health care workforce. Micah Foster became executive director in January at GRAAHI, a 17-year-old nonprofit organization that works to promote parity and eliminate racial disparities in health care. Foster succeeded Shannon Wilson, who in December joined Priority Health as director of Medicaid outreach and quality after leading GRAAHI for eight years.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan earned $605 million on operations in 2018 across all of its businesses amid enrollment growth and continued moderation in premiums for small business health coverage.

Metro Health-University of Michigan Health launched the Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehab program for patients with heart disease.

Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and Covenant HealthCare plan to develop a $40.7 million rehabilitation hospital in Saginaw.

A drug developer rooted in Southwest Michigan and backed by investors across the region may pursue an initial public stock offering that could net up to $86.2 million to support further development and commercialization.

The association health plan two business groups formed last fall for small Michigan-based employers has recorded strong enrollment in its early months. TrascendAHP — created in October by the Lansing-based Small Business Association of Michigan and Warren-based Michigan Business and Professional Association — enrolled about 300 small businesses through January. Those companies account for more than 1,400 contracts between TranscendAHP and their employees for health coverage.

GRAND RAPIDS — West Michigan investment banking firm Charter Capital Partners led a $18.3 million financing round in Malvern, Pa.-based Trice Medical Inc. The Series C capital round will go to expand Trice Medical’s commercialization and accelerate the development of its product portfolio.

At first glance, the 2019 Health Check report published by Grand Valley State University seems to suggest that medical innovation in Michigan and nationally slowed dramatically in recent years. But health care and legal experts say the medical patent numbers in the report don’t quite reflect reality. They cite an array of factors that likely drove steep declines from 2014 to 2017 in the number of medical patents issued and assigned, both nationwide and in Michigan.

KALAMAZOO — More than 60 care providers with a Southwest Michigan medical group plan to switch from Ascension Borgess and instead affiliate with Bronson Healthcare next year. The five-year provider service agreement between Portage Physicians P.C. and Bronson takes effect July 1, 2020. The 30 doctors and 32 physician assistants and nurse practitioners who now practice at six Ascension Borgess ProMed offices in the Kalamazoo area will relocate and staff new Bronson offices.

Mercy Health plans to develop more outpatient medical centers in West Michigan over the next few years. The newest center will come online on East Fulton Street in Ada, where Mercy Health is presently building out space that will house family and internal medicine physicians, neurology, OB-GYN, X-ray, a lab and ancillary services, including physical therapy. Mercy Health expects to offer the first services at the new Ada location in April, said Chief Integration Officer Mary Boyd.

A decision out of Washington, D.C. at the end of last year provides further uncertainty as to how far employers can go with incentives to encourage employees to participate in wellness programs. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in mid-December decided to scrap two rules about wellness incentives. 

GRAND RAPIDS — The organization that provides blood to most of the hospitals in Michigan took on a new name to create a single brand identity with sister centers in neighboring states. Grand Rapids-based Michigan Blood became Versiti Blood Center of Michigan in mid January. The name change comes six years after Michigan Blood affiliated with Milwaukee, Wis.-based Versiti Inc.

KALAMAZOO — Private equity-backed Beacon Specialized Living Services Inc., a provider of specialized residential health care services, has expanded into Minnesota. The deal for Saint Paul, Minn.-based Owakihi Inc. marks the for-profit Beacon’s first foray outside of Michigan, according to a statement.

Lost in my inbox during the year-end shuffle was an item serving as a reminder that despite massive changes occurring in the industry, one steady constant remains in Michigan’s health care sector. In this case, it was the annual report from the American Medical Association that once again identifies Michigan as one of the least competitive states in the country for commercial health insurance.

GRAND RAPIDS — Spectrum Health joined a consortium of large health systems across the U.S. as way to reduce the cost and ensure the availability of generic medications. Through the nonprofit Civica Rx, the Grand Rapids-based health system hopes to cut by 20 percent or more the cost of generic drugs used in surgeries and patient treatments.

Western Michigan University Professor David Karowe, Ph.D. has dire predictions for what will happen if people across the globe fail to take swift action to replace fossil fuels with green energy. While climate change affects systems globally, it will have real effects on the West Michigan region and its economy, according to Karowe’s predictions, which are informed by his years of research on the effects of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide in plants.

Patients in West Michigan are more apt than people in the southeastern part of the state to connect with a doctor virtually to manage two chronic illnesses. That’s one finding in Grand Valley State University’s 2019 Health Check report, which shows a far higher utilization rate in the region for telehealth as an ongoing treatment option for diabetes and coronary artery disease.

A $500,000 grant from the Grand Rapids SmartZone will fund a program to use 3-D printing technology to accelerate the development and production of medical device components.

Researchers led by scientists at Van Andel Research Institute developed a new blood test that can lead to the earlier detection and treatment of pancreatic cancer.

GRAND HAVEN — After first launching a device to kill germs in health care settings, UV Partners Inc. has a new product to disinfect and charge cell phones while working or driving. The company’s UV Angel Aura Clean & Charge embeds into a wireless charging base technology that senses germs and automatically disinfects a smartphone, which according to a 2012 University of Arizona study can carry far more bacteria than a toilet seat.

Sales are not a problem for Perrigo Co. plc. The lack of a robust new product pipeline and pricing pressures as more competitors enter the market have been the primary issues ailing the company, along with customer service issues, CEO Murray Kessler told investor this week.

Pine Rest Christian Mental Services was one of five organizations selected to participate in a federally-funded study on treating people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Spectrum Health was among a dozen members to join a consortium of health systems across the nation that plan to produce their own generic medications to address a shortage.

Physicians practicing in three primary care areas no longer have to maintain board certification to earn or renew a medical license in Michigan, or to get paid by health insurers.

The $77 million investment in Ablative Solutions Inc. ranks as the largest known venture capital deal ever in Michigan, possibly helping draw more attention to the state’s life sciences research and development. 

Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital would expand its presence in northern Michigan under a new joint operating agreement with Munson Healthcare in Traverse City.

Allegan General Hospital and its parent health system would become part of the largest nonprofit health system in the U.S. with the proposed acquisition by Ascension.

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