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A rendering for University of Michigan Health-West’s new $10.4 million health center in Wayland. A rendering for University of Michigan Health-West’s new $10.4 million health center in Wayland. COURTESY PHOTO

University of Michigan Health-West plans new $10.4M Wayland health center to expand services in underserved area

BY Tuesday, December 06, 2022 04:36pm

University of Michigan Health-West plans to build a new, larger health center in Wayland to expand care offerings in an underserved area.

The health system expects to begin construction in March on the $10.4 million, 17,300-square-foot health center on West Superior Street in downtown, about a mile from an existing Wayland location that’s two decades old.

“This is a community we know well, and we listened to the people of Wayland when they told us they wanted more health care access and expanded services close to home,” University of Michigan Health-West CEO Dr. Peter Hahn said. “We look forward to serving new generations of patients and families with even more comprehensive medical care.”

The new Wayland health center will enable University of Michigan Health-West to add primary care and specialty care providers in a growing market in eastern Allegan County, said Dr. Rakesh Pai, president of University of Michigan Health Partners and chief population health officer for University of Michigan Health-West.

The new location will have about 75 percent more space than the present Wayland health center, providing room to grow and expand medical services, such as cardiology, obstetrics and gynecology, and psychiatry and counseling.

“The current space that we’re in is just not adequate to meet the demands of our practice that’s grown quite a bit down there,” Pai told MiBiz. “We want a larger footprint. We want to bring new and differentiated services to Allegan County, and Wayland is somewhere we’ve been for a long time. It’s definitely underserved from a specialty care and primary care perspective and we’re looking to bring more services there to that population.”

The existing Wayland health center houses three primary care physicians and three advanced practice providers. University of Michigan Health-West expects to add three or four more physicians and providers. The new Wayland center also will provide space for rotating specialties.

The health system aims to open the new Wayland health center in May 2024, which coincides with the expiration of the current facility’s lease. The larger location could draw patients from a larger market along the U.S. 131 corridor in eastern Allegan County, including Otsego and Plainwell south of Wayland.

“We hope to bring more services that might make some of those folks think about coming north,” Pai said. “We want to be in these communities that have a choice and just kind of show them what we bring to the table.”

The new Wayland health center is part of a broader effort for University of Michigan Health-West to grow in the region, particularly in markets in close proximity to the main hospital campus in southwestern Kent County. The health system is considering Byron Center and Greenville, where it has a cardiology clinic, for possible new primary care locations, Pai said.

University of Michigan Health-West is “absolutely committed” to growing its primary care network “and we want to be strong in our backyard,” he said.

“People should look to us to kind of grow our primary care network or footprint in some of the communities around Wyoming. We’re assessing what the opportunities might be to grow that network,” Pai said.

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