Central Michigan University College of Medicine has struck a rather unusual 25-year affiliation agreement with longtime partner Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw that covers traditional medical student education and research opportunities.
Through the affiliation, which most medical schools and hospitals have as rolling five-year evergreen contracts for continuity purposes, CMU medical students will continue to complete clinical rotations at Covenant's hospitals and affiliated physician offices under the supervision of physicians who serve as CMU faculty members, said CMU medical school Dean George Kikano, M.D.
Kikano said the 25-year model is one he would like to see replicated at the medical school's other six major health system partners. He said the longer contract will expand opportunities for clinical research on public and community health issues prominent in the Great Lakes Bay Region.
"Covenant is a regional leader for healthcare and an important partner to Central Michigan University for medical education and training," said Kikano, who also is vice president of health affairs at the university based in Mt. Pleasant and Saginaw. "By cementing our long-term relationship with Covenant, communities and residents across our region and beyond will benefit from improved access to healthcare as we fill the critical need for medical professionals."
CMU President Bob Davies said the agreement marks a significant milestone in the strong and growing relationship between the two organizations.
"The region, state, our students — and more importantly, the residents and communities of our region — will benefit significantly from this historic agreement, which will be the first of many of its kind," Davies said in a statement.
CMU's College of Medicine is one of six medical schools in Michigan and one of the state's newest, opening in 2013 and graduating its first class in 2017 with 62 students. The medical school, which now has 75-student class sizes, aims to train diverse, culturally competent doctors to work in urban and rural medically underserved populations.
Medical schools in Michigan — which graduate about 1,000 annually to help address the state's projected doctor shortage — include Wayne State University School of Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, Central Michigan University College of Medicine, Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine and College of Osteopathic Medicine and Western Michigan University's Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine in Kalamazoo,
Covenant, which is Michigan's sixth-largest healthcare organization and ormed by the 1998 merger of Saginaw General and St. Luke's Hospital, offers offers a broad spectrum of programs and services throughout east-central Michigan.
"Covenant has long recognized the critical role that medical education plays in community health. This agreement provides our long-term commitment of resources and support for the CMU College of Medicine and is an affirmation that Covenant will serve as the primary site for medical education in the region," Covenant President and CEO Ed Bruff said in a statement.
Kikano said Central wants to maximize student placement at hospitals and healthcare facilities. "We want to get as many students for rotation at Covenant as we can," he said. At least 12 students will rotate at Covenant, he said.
"We will do research together on clinical materials and data, electronic medical records," Kikano said. "We are building research infrastructure for public health."
Central also has partnerships and places third- and fourth-year medical students at Ascension St. John Hospital in Detroit; Lakeland Health in St. Joseph; Mid-Michigan Health in Midland; Ascension St. Mary Hospital in Saginaw, Mackinac Straits Health System, several McLaren Healthcare facilities; St. Mary Mercy Livonia; and several Spectrum Health hospitals and medical centers.
Kikano said about a dozen students will begin rotations July 1 at DMC Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit.
"None of these (affiliations) diminishes the others," he said. "Students are concentrated in clusters for the best possible experience we can give them."
Asked about the status of Central Michigan's application with the state Department of Health and Human Services to take over the public entity contract for pediatrics from Wayne State University, Kikano said nothing has changed. In January, Central applied with the state to manage $10 million in enhanced Medicaid funds for University Pediatricians, a now independent group once affiliated with Wayne State and the primary group servicing DMC Children's Hospital.
"It is not my decision. It is the state's decision. The dollars are for doctors," he said.
"Central Michigan signs 25-year affiliation deal with Covenant HealthCare" originally appeared in Crain's Detroit Business.