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Published on April 25, 2017

One Year Later: Partnership Grows Services, Strengthens Medical Center

This month marks the one One Year Anniversary; MidMichigan Medical Center - Alpenayear anniversary of MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena joining the MidMichigan Health family. In the last 12 months several milestones have been reached and significant progress has been made in the Medical Center’s transition to the health system.

“When we announced our partnership with MidMichigan Health last April, we shared that ‘together, we’re more than we were before.’ As I reflect back on our year, I continue to stand behind this. What we have achieved since partnering with MidMichigan, coupled with the support of leadership, employees, providers, volunteers and the community, has been outstanding,” said Karmon Bjella, FACHE, president of MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena. “Together, we have integrated best practices in patient care areas, expanded services to keep care local and provided, not just our patients, but our employees with both educational resources and access to specialists in many areas. By working collaboratively with MidMichigan, and the strength their affiliation with University of Michigan brings, we have been able to achieve this and so much more.”

Some of the partnership achievements made in the past year have included: clinical policy alignment; contract and integration savings; retirement plan transition; leadership programming development; employee health and wellness clinic expansion and student scholarship access. A vascular clinic is also set to begin in Alpena in May. This partnership has also given MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena access to specialists in pharmacy, home health, facility management, finance, information technology and physician practice managements. What’s more, Alpena is now represented on the MidMichigan Health Board of Directors, MidMichigan Health Advisory Council and University of Michigan Health System Joint Operating Council.

“Since our partnership began, the benefits MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena is experiencing are in large part a result of the hard work of our integration teams. Leaders from both organizations have worked tirelessly to integrate our systems, technologies, and staff. Their passion for excellence wasn’t just to ensure our partnership succeeds, but more importantly to ensure our patients receive the high-quality care they deserve,” said Diane Postler-Slattery, Ph.D., FACHE, president and CEO, MidMichigan Health. “As a result of this commitment, patient satisfaction scores in Alpena are increasing, care is being kept local so residents don’t need to travel far for care and we have greater and more provider collaboration that has led to improved quality and outcomes, just to name a few. We are positioning this partnership and our patients for a much stronger and healthier future.”

Alpena’s affiliation with MidMichigan has also recorded expense savings and assured consistent and strategically relevant capital reinvestment into the community. Examples of this include the replacement of the Medical Center’s Linear Accelerator later this summer, replacement of equipment in Alpena’s Cardiac Cath Lab and Imaging Department and the review of construction options for current facilities on the Medical Center’s campus.

What’s more, MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena will transition to Epic, MidMichigan’s new electronic medical record (EMR) system, in September 2017. The new system will enable each patient to have one comprehensive medical record shared across the MidMichigan Health-employed providers and facilities who deliver their care. This will result in faster, more accurate communication, streamlined processes and cost-saving efficiencies.  The project will also bring MidMichigan Health-owned facilities onto the same platform for registration, scheduling and billing.”

“Our partnership with MidMichigan has inevitably strengthened our Medical Center and what we provide our patients. For example, a project such as Epic is a huge undertaking for a health care system. This EMR would not have been made available to us as a stand-alone rural hospital,” said Bjella. “To make strides in program development, especially information technology, this requires a larger, more sophisticated organization to get the job done and to get the job done well.

In addition to the progress made just this past year, MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena plans to add additional services not currently offered in the region in the near future. Other services currently under consideration include telemedicine initiatives in the intensive care, neurology and psychiatry areas and the expansion of services in Rogers City. The integration team is also exploring the addition of a vascular surgery clinic, as well as a heart failure clinic.

“Putting our patients first has been and will always continue to be our priority. This partnership solidifies that commitment. And, with MidMichigan, our future is bright,” concluded Bjella.