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Mercy Health Opens $3.9 Million Medical Center In Ludington

Mercy Health has opened a $3.9 million medical center in Ludington in northwest Michigan.

Mercy Health Ludington offers urgent care, primary care services, lab, imaging and specialty clinics, and continues services at neurosurgery and cardiology clinics. An occupational medicine clinic was slated to open Aug. 15 and behavioral health services are penciled in for the fall.

The 15,000-square-foot facility is less than a mile away from the Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital.

Mercy Health announced plans to build the center last May and broke ground in September.

A West Michigan multi-campus health care system, Mercy Health features five hospital campuses, more than 60 physician offices and more than 1,300 medical staff physicians.

WSU Neurology Chair Passes Away

Omar Khan, MD, chair of the Wayne State University Department of Neurology, died Aug. 13.

Dr. Khan joined the Department of Neurology in 1998, and was appointed chair in 2012.

“He was a strong leader of his department,” School of Medicine Dean Jack D. Sobel, MD, said. “This is a substantial loss to our School of Medicine and a tremendous loss for multiple sclerosis patients, for whom Dr. Khan was a staunch advocate.”

Dr. Khan also served as director of the Wayne State University Multiple Sclerosis Center and Magnetic Resonance Image Analysis Laboratory, neurologist-in-chief for the Detroit Medical Center and formerly as associate chief medical officer for the Wayne State University Physician Group.

He received his medical degree in 1987 from the Allama Iqbal Medical College, University of the Punjab in Lahore, Pakistan. He served on the University of Maryland faculty from 1996 to 1998, when he joined Wayne State University.

Dr. Khan secured more than $8 million in research funding. He served as principal investigator in more than 55 studies and at the time of his death was the principal investigator in more than 15 clinical trials and investigator-initiated studies.

The Wayne State University Multiple Sclerosis Center, which he directed, is one of the top five MS centers in the country, with a patient population exceeding 4,000. He established the largest African-American multiple sclerosis clinic in the United States and is a founding member of the African-American Initiative in Multiple Sclerosis, a Detroit community-based endeavor. Dr. Khan’s MRI Analysis Laboratory focused on mechanisms of tissue injury and repair in neurodegenerative disorders, including multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Funeral services for Dr. Khan were conducted Aug. 15 at the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit mosque in Rochester Hills, Mich. Interment took place the same day at White Chapel Cemetery in Troy, Mich.

ACS Outfits Clothing Codes For Surgeons

A combined concern based on professional image and safety drives the American College of
Surgeons new communique on clothing. No dangling surgical masks, loose jewelry, grungy scrubs or uncovered ponytails or mutton-chop sideburns allowed. And, much like pro athletes, ditch the uniform (scrubs) for a jacket and tie for “encounters outside the OR.”

“The whole idea is to support professionalism on behalf of patients,” ACS Executive Director David Hoyt, MD, said in a news story.

The guidelines, which the ACS says were developed based on “based on professionalism, common sense, decorum, and the available evidence,” were designed standardize dress codes, which vary in different organizations.

“There’s a lot of confusion as to what is out there and what is being assessed. We felt it was very important to create a document that tries to evaluate everything and put it into perspective,” Hoyt said in the story. “This is what the surgical community feels is appropriate and best practice.”

Such dress codes aim to ensure that physicians look professional, which research shows is important to patients: Data aggregated from 30 studies found that most patients prefer physicians in professional attire.

As defined within the study, professional attire is “a collared shirt, tie and slacks for male physicians and blouse (with or without a blazer), skirt, or suit pants for female physicians.”

Professional attire is linked with perceptions of trustworthiness and respect, as well as improved patient satisfaction.

In addition, the statement provides details on wearing the skullcap in a way that ensures patient safety, and puts forth respective cleaning or disposal recommendations for cloth and paper caps. To facilitate enforcement of the guideline on wearing scrubs only within the perimeter of the hospital, the ACS also suggests the adoption of distinctive, colored scrub suits for OR personnel.

“This statement reflects our strong commitment to surgical patient safety. It’s important to provide an optimal surgical care environment for our patients. These recommendations for a comprehensive dress policy for surgeons will help us to achieve that goal,” said Hoyt.

The College is collaborating with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Joint Commission to ensure that their policies and regulatory oversight activities are aligned with these ACS recommendations.

Hospitals Turn To Uber For Patient Transport Help

Hospitals and health systems across the country are partnering with Uber to help patients make it to appointments on time, according to a recent article in the Atlantic magazine.

Columbia, Md.-based MedStar Health is one such system. The nonprofit health care system began a partnership with Uber in January. Through the partnership, patients can use Uber can book trips via the MedStar website. Medicaid patients or those without the Uber app can set up rides by calling MedStar’s patient advocates directly.

The arrangement has been wildly popular. “We probably had 50 different systems across the country reach out to us and ask us, ‘How did you do it?’ I would say that it has been a seismic shift for people who have used the service and the places we’ve provided it,” said Michael Ruiz, MedStar’s chief digital officer, according to the report.

The trend is occurring in a variety of systems. Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center and Sarasota (Fla.) Memorial Hospital both recently decided to work with Uber. Other organizations — such as Relatient, a healthcare communications company, and National MedTrans Network, a transportation company — have done likewise, having partnered with Uber and Lyft, respectively. Medicaid patients in Idaho have a new way to get to the hospital through Veyo, a San Diego-based startup that recently contracted with the state of Idaho.

These new partnerships are particularly beneficial to patients who have chronic conditions — and therefore need frequent hospital checkups — as well as those without access to private transportation. Hospitals are benefiting, too. As a recent study in BMC Health Services Research shows, healthcare organizations lose money when patients don’t show up to their appointments.

Although these partnerships prevent patients from missing their checkups, they also have downsides. Wheelchair-friendly vehicles are only available in certain cities. In addition, access is often limited due to each driver’s availability.

AMA and CDC Update Docs on Zika Virus

The American Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the following statements this week regarding the Zika virus as they hosted a webinar for American’s physicians and clinicians on the current status of the outbreak.

“As the Zika virus outbreak continues to evolve and more Americans become impacted by the virus, we must ensure that our nation’s physicians, and all clinicians, are prepared to handle possible cases of the virus and are equipped with the most up-to-date information to answer patients’ questions. The AMA and CDC will be holding a live webinar tonight to provide physicians and other clinicians with an update on the current status of the outbreak and the latest clinical guidance to help them diagnose and manage patients and prevent further transmission of the Zika virus,” said AMA President Andrew W. Gurman, MD.

The AMA will continue to update its online Zika Virus Resource Center with the latest Zika-related information from the CDC and other trusted healthcare organizations to support health care professionals in combatting and preventing complications from the virus to help keep their patients safe and healthy.

With an increasing number of Zika cases confirmed in the US, including this week’s news of the death of a newborn baby with Zika-linked microcephaly, the AMA continues to call on policymakers in Washington to immediately make the necessary resources available for our country to combat the growing threat of the virus and protect the American public. For months, the AMA has vigorously urged that sufficient resources be provided to ensure our nation is able to deploy a robust public health response to the Zika virus.

“Clinicians play an important role in the fight against Zika in the United States,” said Michael Bell, MD, CDC Deputy Director of the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. “CDC and AMA are working together to ensure that medical staff are properly equipped and trained to help protect Americans’ health from Zika.”

WSU Med School May Lose 37 Faculty Members

Wayne State University School of Medicine could be down 37 faculty members because of retirement and termination, according to The Detroit News.

The news was revealed via a letter to faculty members from Dean Jack Sobel, MD.

Eighteen faculty members have “agreed to retire, accept phased retirement or received notice of nonrenewal of their contract,” according to Dr. Sobel’s letter. Eleven others will be recommended for dismissal from their positions, and eight more chose to take part in separation agreements. Most of these eight will stay on staff at Wayne State until after Sept. 1.

These 37 members are part of the 700 researchers in the medical school’s basic sciences and clinical departments, according to Charles Parrish, PhD, president of the American Association of University Professors-AFT Michigan Local 6075.

Dr. Sobel’s letter comes after Wayne State warned faculty members of the consequences of their unproductive habits in March. “Too many of our faculty [members] have been unproductive for many years,” Dr. Sobel and David Hefner, Wayne State’s vice president for health affairs, wrote in a letter to 527 faculty members. “They have been allowed to consume needed resources totaling many millions of dollars.” Mr. Hefner claimed between 60 and 80 faculty members were categorized as unproductive, and he and Dr. Sobel asked them to boost their research products and increase the number of patients they see.

But Dr. Parrish claimed productivity levels are not entirely based on faculty members themselves. “The way administration defines productivity, they define it based on how much research money you bring in,” he said. “It’s harder to get grants … It’s a complex situation. Some people who have contributed a lot are on the list.”

Although the 37 faculty members were not named in the report, Dr. Sobel said the cuts were “a critical and necessary step toward allowing our many productive faculty members to thrive, and will result in our emerging stronger as one of the nation’s most robust urban medical colleges and centers of research,” according to the report.