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Health Care

KALAMAZOO — The newest invention from Tim Fischell and his business partner offers what’s promised as a safer and simpler device to use in cardiac catheterization procedures.

An $800 medical bill following his spouse’s 2014 emergency room visit that resulted in antibiotic and pain relief medications led Chris Bailey to think deeper about telehealth and better ways of connecting with doctors when needed.

At some point in 2021, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will make a decision that may very well lead to altering the competitive balance for heart care in West Michigan.

KALAMAZOO — Dr. Paula Termuhlen, the regional dean of the Duluth campus at the University of Minnesota Medical School, will serve as the new dean in May at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine.

As health systems and pharmacies ramp up capacity to administer COVID-19 vaccines, the state wants to increase the number of doses coming into Michigan.

Spectrum Health began offering COVID-19 vaccines Monday to people eligible under a second phase of a statewide vaccination rollout. The health system plans to expand the effort to additional locations and set up mobile clinics in the days ahead.

A new partnership will connect Michigan State University’s clinical and research acumen with Perrigo Co. plc’s expertise in product innovation, manufacturing scale and retail distribution.

Michigan is moving into the next phase of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, allowing seniors and some essential frontline workers to receive doses starting Jan. 11, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Wednesday.

KALAMAZOO — Stryker Corp. acquired Dania Beach, Fla.-based OrthoSensor Inc., a producer of sensor technology for musculoskeletal care and total joint replacement.

Spectrum Health entered 2020 with a goal of having half of eligible primary care patient visits with its doctors occur virtually by the end of 2022.

As COVID-19 emerged last spring and closed physician offices for non-essential care — forcing connections with patients via telehealth platforms — health insurers began to pay doctors the same for virtual visits as they do for in-person care.

Praveen Thadani starts as Priority Health’s new president this month, moving from Humana Inc. in Chicago, where he’s worked for more than seven years. He started at Humana as Illinois market president then led strategic planning across several business lines as senior vice president of strategy, product and innovation. A veteran health insurance executive with 25 years of industry experience, Thadani succeeds Joan Budden, who retired at the end of 2020 after 12 years with Priority Health, including the last five as CEO. Thadani is expected to take on the new role in early January.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed two bills that would have had Michigan join other states in licensing compacts for nurses and psychologists.

GRAND RAPIDS — HealthBar, a Grand Rapids-based provider of customized health care services for businesses, has launched a new drive-thru COVID-19 testing site.

In September, Dr. James Grant became chief medical director at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, making the transition during the COVID-19 pandemic that has elevated telehealth to the forefront in the industry. While a COVID-19 vaccine became available a week ago, starting with frontline health care workers and long-term care facilities, the pandemic will drive much of what happens in the health care industry in 2021, according to Grant.

A lifelong interest in diversity, equity and inclusion led Vanessa Greene to the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute, which works to address racial and ethnic disparities in health care. Greene joined GRAAHI as CEO in October, moving from Hope College where she held leadership positions in diversity and inclusion for nearly 17 years. She took over GRAAHI leadership as the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affected African Americans and brought greater attention to long-existing racial disparities in health care. As GRAAHI Board Chairman Paul Doyle said upon Greene’s hiring: “Now, more than ever, it is important to continue to highlight the systemic inequities and racial health disparities in our community.”

Joan Budden retires Dec. 31 as CEO of Priority Health, Michigan’s second-largest health plan with more than 1 million people statewide enrolled in policies. As she prepares to depart after 12 years with the Grand Rapids-based Priority Health, the last five as CEO, Budden expects COVID-19 pandemic will continue to cause disruptions. That includes within Priority Health, which had to adjust its operations because of state-ordered restrictions, as well as with the broader trend toward increased use of telehealth services, Budden told MiBiz

More Michigan hospitals are now vaccinating health care workers as doses of the Pfizer Inc. vaccine arrive.

GRAND HAVEN — Spectrum Health plans to buy out Holland Hospital’s interest in Health Pointe, an outpatient medical campus developed in Grand Haven through a joint venture, MiBiz has learned.

GRAND RAPIDS — Praveen Thadani, a veteran health insurance executive with 25 years of industry experience, becomes Priority Health’s new president early next month.

GRAND RAPIDS — Spectrum Health vaccinated its first medical staff today hours after receiving the first doses from Pfizer Inc., ushering in what President and CEO Tina Freese Decker called the “next chapter in our fight against COVID-19.”

Five hospitals in West Michigan were among 32 statewide to earn an “A” in a fall report card on patient safety.

LANSING — State officials expect Michigan to receive nearly 260,000 initial doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc., based on federal estimates.

GRAND RAPIDS -- Convergint Technologies LLC in Schaumburg, Ill., has acquired Grand Rapids-based Innovative Medical Systems Inc., a reseller of acute care and technical products for hospitals.

Hospitals want Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to extend restrictions that are set to expire tomorrow night extended through the holiday season.

Professional burnout was a big problem in health care well before COVID-19.

As they manage the ongoing surge of COVID-19 patients, hospitals are preparing to receive and distribute vaccines that could ease and eventually bring an end to the pandemic.

GRAND RAPIDS — Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital has temporarily added beds to ease pressure on other hospitals in the region that are stressed with a surge in COVID-19 patients.

Michigan has made progress since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic to address racial disparities and reduce the death and infection rates among African Americans, state officials say.

Priority Health plans to give large employers a rebate early next year on their employee health coverage, a result of lower medical claims from the COVID-19 pandemic.

CALEDONIA — Aspen Surgical Products Inc. completed its third acquisition in less than a year after buying Protek Medical Products Inc. in Coralville, Iowa.

As reports continue to rank Michigan as one of the least competitive markets in the nation, the statewide trade group representing HMOs wants to ensure that insurance carriers are able to pursue business when employers bid out employee health coverage.

Roughly three-quarters of West Michigan business executives and other professionals support a statewide mask mandate for indoor gatherings as well as another round of federal stimulus funding, according to a survey last week of nearly 400 MiBiz readers.

Bronson Methodist Hospital and Ascension Borgess in Kalamazoo were named among the top 50 heart hospitals in the U.S. by Fortune and IBM Watson Health.

GRAND RAPIDS — The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients that Spectrum Health is treating could surge far higher by early December if present infection rates continue unabated.

MUSKEGON — Mercy Health Muskegon plans to open a care unit Thursday at the Hackley campus to handle a surge in COVID-19 patients.

LANSING — With hospital bed capacity and staffing increasingly stretched thin, exponential growth in positive cases statewide and limited contact tracing ability, the Whitmer administration is urging Michigan residents to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

After hospitalizations statewide doubled in just two weeks, health care executives across Michigan are emphasizing the need for people to follow public health guidelines to get the spread of the coronavirus back under control.

As the COVID-19 pandemic surges, hospitals have the ability to add the beds needed to handle the influx of patients.

MUSKEGON — Mercy Health Muskegon has begun to delay elective surgeries as needed and is weighing whether to open additional emergency beds as COVID-19 cases surge.

HOLLAND — Raising nearly $21.6 million gives Shoulder Innovations Inc. the capital needed to scale up operations and bring new products to market.

 GRAND RAPIDS — Perrigo Co. plc’s planned North America headquarters in downtown Grand Rapids adds a major new player to the Medical Mile academic, research and health care cluster as well as a potential new partner for Michigan State University.

Against the backdrop of what behavioral health experts say is a worsening crisis in the COVID-19 pandemic, state lawmakers are weighing a number of bills to increase access to mental health care in Michigan.

GRAND RAPIDS — Spectrum Health plans to develop two new facilities for rehabilitation and nursing home care in Grand Rapids, plus a third center specializing in outpatient orthopedic surgeries.

Dr. Jurgen Luders connected years ago with Golden, Colo.-based Reven Pharmaceuticals Inc. after a friend and former colleague at the Cleveland Clinic told him about his own involvement with the company. Luders visited Reven to learn more and ended up joining its advisory board. He later became medical director at Reven, which is developing a powerful anti-inflammatory drug called Rejuveinix, or RJX, that shows promise in preventing and reversing conditions caused by inflammation. Luders — the chief of neurosurgery at Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences who is board certified in regenerative medicine — spoke with MiBiz about his work with Reven, RJX’s potential for treating COVID-19 patients, and innovation in health care.

Grand Rapids-based home health care provider Atrio Home Health Lakeshore was already looking for a telehealth platform to remotely monitor clients’ conditions before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stryker Corp. will have to divest ankle and finger implant businesses under a proposed agreement with federal trade regulators to allow a $4 billion deal to proceed with Wright Medical Group N.V., a Netherlands-based maker of various orthopedic products.

Officials at large West Michigan health systems say they are now treating as many COVID-19 patients as they did back in the spring when the pandemic hit hard, brought daily routines to a halt and hospitalizations were at their peak.