GRAND HAVEN — Mercy Health Saint Mary’s plans to open a neurology clinic in Grand Haven to treat patients in the lakeshore area with neurological diseases, disorders and injuries.
The move by Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences follows a clinical affiliation the health system signed last spring with North Ottawa Community Health System to fill gaps for specialized care in the lakeshore market that stretches from Holland on the south and north to Ludington. Mercy Health has already extended hours locally for a cardiology practice to full time and worked with North Ottawa to expand a primary care office and a diagnostics office in Spring Lake.
The Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences clinic opens for the first time on Thursday in a North Ottawa-owned medical office building adjacent to the hospital’s campus.
Executives at Mercy Health say the project helps fill a market need and offer convenience for patients on the lakeshore who now travel to Grand Rapids.
“We’ve been looking at how we can expand service on the lakeshore and serve people closer to home, and particularly for people with chronic disease of any kind and the kind of things that make it hard to get out and move around,” said Dr. David Baumgartner, chief medical officer at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. “Hopefully we’re going to see a lot more expansion all along the lakeshore.”
Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences treats patients with epilepsy, spine and brain disorders, Parkinson’s disease, sleep disorders, stroke and dementia. The Hauenstein Center also plans to open a stroke clinic at the Mercy Health campus in Muskegon.
Mercy Health plans to staff the office one day per week initially, and then assess the need for additional hours and adjust accordingly, said Dr. Philip Gorelick, the medical director of Hauenstein Neurosciences. Three Hauenstein neurologists will rotate hours at the satellite office.
“We’ll take three to six months to figure all of this out and then once we have a good process in place, we’ll look to see if we need to have more physician time,” Gorelick said.
The center at Mercy Health’s Saint Mary’s campus in Grand Rapids records about 25,000 patient visits annually, a “fair number” of whom come from the lakeshore, Gorelick said.
“We know there are enough of them that we need to come here,” he said.