Health Care

GRAND HAVEN — After first launching a device to kill germs in health care settings, UV Partners Inc. has a new product to disinfect and charge cell phones while working or driving. The company’s UV Angel Aura Clean & Charge embeds into a wireless charging base technology that senses germs and automatically disinfects a smartphone, which according to a 2012 University of Arizona study can carry far more bacteria than a toilet seat.

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Sales are not a problem for Perrigo Co. plc. The lack of a robust new product pipeline and pricing pressures as more competitors enter the market have been the primary issues ailing the company, along with customer service issues, CEO Murray Kessler told investor this week.

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Pine Rest Christian Mental Services was one of five organizations selected to participate in a federally-funded study on treating people with Alzheimer’s disease.

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Spectrum Health was among a dozen members to join a consortium of health systems across the nation that plan to produce their own generic medications to address a shortage.

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Physicians practicing in three primary care areas no longer have to maintain board certification to earn or renew a medical license in Michigan, or to get paid by health insurers.

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The $77 million investment in Ablative Solutions Inc. ranks as the largest known venture capital deal ever in Michigan, possibly helping draw more attention to the state’s life sciences research and development. 

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Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital would expand its presence in northern Michigan under a new joint operating agreement with Munson Healthcare in Traverse City.

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Allegan General Hospital and its parent health system would become part of the largest nonprofit health system in the U.S. with the proposed acquisition by Ascension.

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Ascension Michigan today named Peter Bergmann as president of Ascension Borgess.

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Ablative Solutions Inc. secured $77 million in financing that ranks as the largest known venture capital deal ever in Michigan.

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Joan Budden looks at 2019 as a year to keep pushing for greater affordability and accessibility in health care. The president and CEO of Grand Rapids-based health plan Priority Health welcomes the greater attention and scrutiny that arose in 2018 for prescription drug costs that are becoming a major cost burden for health insurers and employers. She expects the trend to greater price transparency and consumerism to further take hold for the industry in 2019.

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Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital goes into 2019 with a new partner after signing a collaboration agreement in November with Spectrum Health to work together on research and coordinating patient care. The Grand Rapids rehabilitation hospital also formalized a research partnership with the University of Michigan Health System, and toward year’s end acquired the in-home skilled nursing services unit from Sunset Retirement Communities and Services. Looking ahead to 2019, President and CEO Kent Riddle sees a continuation of the high growth that Mary Free Bed has experienced in recent years since forming a statewide care network.

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Health care goes into 2019 facing many of the same issues and trends that have been driving industry change in recent years: the movement to value-based contracting, more use of telemedicine, growing concerns about cybersecurity, and greater price and cost transparency for consumers.

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Dr. Rakesh Pai joined Metro Health – University of Michigan Health System in October as medical group president and chief population health officer. He came to the health system with experience in two major drivers in health care today: value-based contracts between insurers and care providers and population health. Dr. Pai, a cardiologist, previously served as associate chief medical officer for two years at Cambia Health Solutions in Portland, Ore., where he ran Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon. Dr. Pai looks at 2019 as a year for Metro Health to further build on the two-year-old affiliation with U-M Health System.

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The Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine achieved significant milestones in 2018. Among them: Receiving full accreditations from The Higher Learning Commission and the Liaison Committee of Medical Education, plus graduating its inaugural class of 48 medical students in May, all of whom were placed in residencies across the country. Since opening in 2014, the medical school — commonly known as WMed — has ramped up to peak capacity of 84 students per incoming class. After “quite a great year” in 2018, founding Dean Hal Jenson said WMed is now focused on improving and building on the foundation that’s been established.

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The past year confirmed to Toni Sperlbaum that workplace wellness is beginning to move in a new direction. Rather than focus on diet, exercise, and financial incentives for increasing participation and progress toward health goals, some employer wellness programs locally now take a broader approach. They encompass mental health, financial well-being and intrinsic motivation to encourage employees to maintain or improve their health, said Sperlbaum, the vice president of wellness at Health Plan Advocate in Grand Rapids. She expects that trend to pick up, albeit slowly, in West Michigan during the next year.

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Tina Freese Decker became president and CEO at Spectrum Health on Sept. 1 following the retirement of Rick Breon. She leads West Michigan’s largest health system as the industry adapts to a combination of forces driving change, including greater consumerism and personalizing care to individual patients. As well, the industry has shifted to focus on keeping people healthy rather than treating them when they’re ill or injured, an economic model that rewards quality and pays care providers for outcomes rather than volume. Spectrum Health in 2018 moved into the Southwestern Michigan market with the merger of Lakeland Health in St. Joseph, and this fall formed a new partnership with Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital.

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GRAND RAPIDS — A $40 million investment by a Japanese pharmaceutical company provides Tetra Discovery Partners Inc. a strategic partner and capital to test and commercialize a new drug compound that could treat Alzheimer’s disease and a form of autism.

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Innovative Cardiovascular Solutions LLC, the developer of a device to improve patient safety during a heart procedure, closed on $8 million in capital raised to support clinical trials and production.

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McLaren Health Care broke ground Monday on a new $450 million, 240-bed hospital.

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CALEDONIA — Three investors have put more money into Acrisure LLC, the West Michigan-based insurance brokerage that’s been growing rapidly through an aggressive acquisition strategy.

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MUSKEGON — By forming academic partnerships for a new medical clinic in Muskegon, Mercy Health aims to extend primary care where it’s needed and to create a talent pipeline of future health care workers.

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Ada physician Ronald Kufner was among six doctors indicted by a federal grand jury on allegations they illegally prescribed 13.2 million doses of opioid pain medications and billed Medicare, Medicaid and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan a collective $464.3 million over nearly six years.

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HOLLAND — Venture capital fund Cultivate(MD) Capital Fund II LP invested in SpinTech Inc., a Detroit-based startup that developed a suite of software for brain scan MRIs.

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Backers of a law mandating paid sick leave in Michigan say they’ll launch a new petition drive to put the issue on the 2020 ballot if lawmakers weaken it during the lame-duck legislative session in Lansing.

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Against the backdrop of West Michigan’s nascent medical device industry and an expanding array of resources, high-tech health care startups are finding the tools they need to start and grow their businesses in the region.

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The lame-duck session of Congress offers the opportunity for advocates to finally convince lawmakers to repeal a federal tax on medical devices.

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West Michigan’s medical device manufacturers are reaching a tipping point. The region’s fledgling industry has begun to mature, especially around contract manufacturing, which draws on the legacy of industrial knowledge across West Michigan.

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GRAND RAPIDS — Hal Zaima’s innovation seeks to address a lingering and serious problem in health care: infections acquired in hospitals that lead to the deaths of thousands of patients annually.

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KALAMAZOO — Two deals that closed in recent weeks typify medical device firm Stryker Corp.’s acquisition strategy.

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Affiliating with the University of Michigan Health System nearly two years ago gave Metro Health a partner to grow and become a larger player in the West Michigan health care market.

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HOLLAND — Venture capital fund Cultivate(MD) Capital Fund II LP of Holland has invested in Medical Ingenuities LLC, a Wheaton, Ill.-based early-stage medical device company.

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GRAND RAPIDS — A new agreement for collaboration formalizes ties and sets the foundation for Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and Spectrum Health to work closer together.

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GRAND RAPIDS — The psychiatric urgent care center that Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services plans to open next spring represents the first step toward broadening access to behavioral health care across West Michigan.

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If the national numbers are any indication, employers can generally expect to pay moderately more to provide employee health coverage next year, although any increase comes on top of a cost that is already higher than ever.

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MUSKEGON — As the first phase of a $291 million expansion and renovation project at the Mercy Hospital campus begins to open, Mercy Health wants to start gathering ideas for the future of the Hackley Hospital campus a few miles away.

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More hospitals than ever in Michigan earned a top grade in a semi-annual report card on patient safety.

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Spectrum Health and Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital are forming a “deeper relationship” to work together on research and coordinating patient care.

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GRAND RAPIDS — With a new project, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and the University of Michigan are laying the foundation for further research collaborations. 

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GRAND RAPIDS — A new women’s health center Metro Health-University of Michigan Health System plans to open later this year will increase patients’ access to care in eastern Kent County. 

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GRAND RAPIDS — Spectrum Health’s venture capital arm joined other groups to invest $20 million into a California company that developed a medical device to accurately measure blood loss during surgeries and births.

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Grand Valley State University plans to begin work next week on a $70 million addition to its health campus along Michigan Street east of downtown.

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