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Final Agreement Clears Way for Innovative Cardiovascular Collaboration

Dr. Himanshu J. Patel

With a joint operating agreement finalized July 21, 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 also utilize the clinical 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.

Kristine Todd, DNP

The network’s inaugural executive director will be Dr. Himanshu J. Patel, a U-M cardiac surgeon, Joe D. Morris Collegiate Professor of Cardiac Surgery and Section Head of Adult Cardiac Surgery at the Frankel Cardiovascular Center. The administrative director will be Kristine Todd, DNP, 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. Matthew Sevensma of Metro Health – University of Michigan Health, and Dr. Eugene Chung of Michigan Medicine.

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

“This initiative is based on each partner’s overarching goal of providing not only the highest quality care, but also choice for the patients we serve in west Michigan,” Patel said. “To accomplish this goal, for the

fastest-growing part of our state, we will also leverage the rich expertise already present at University of Michigan Health’s Frankel Cardiovascular Center.”

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.

Dr. Matthew Sevensma

“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,” said Matthew Biersack, MD, interim president and chief medical officer at 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.”

Dr. Eugene Chung

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.