Sparrow, MSU to consolidate children’s health care services

Published: April 9, 2012

In a move that will better coordinate health care for mid-Michigan's children, Michigan State University and Sparrow Health System have announced plans to integrate a majority of their pediatric outpatient specialty services into a single location.

The goal is to enhance the level of care for young patients throughout mid-Michigan, improving access and providing greater convenience for patients and their families, leaders of the organizations said.

The effort, announced today at a news conference at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, comes as the two institutions continue to recruit new pediatric specialists and subspecialists to the region, including doctors in pediatric orthopedics, genetics and infectious disease.

"We are very fortunate in our region to have a comprehensive array of pediatric services," said Dennis Swan, President and CEO of Sparrow Health System. "At Sparrow, we strive to be patient-centered in all that we do. The integration and consolidation of pediatric services into one location is the best thing to do for our patients and their families."

Officials are actively working on identifying a location for the consolidated pediatric specialty care service; the Sparrow Professional Building is the preferred location due to its proximity to the hospital but work is in progress to ensure the final location can accommodate the needs of this patient population. Leaders from both institutions will be meeting over the next several months to determine the best way to provide services to young patients with unique needs often battling multiple conditions.

"We are committed to meeting the pediatric care needs of the community, and that can best be accomplished through the integration of services offered by our two institutions," MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said. "Expanding an already strong partnership helps us increase the significant depth of subspecialty care already in Lansing."

The first step in the process is a new pediatric resource and referral service, which will help match the region's youngest patients to the physicians and services that can best serve them. This referral service - which will be up and running this summer - will serve as a single point of contact for pediatric specialty care between Sparrow Hospital and MSU HealthTeam, the clinical arm of the university made up of faculty from the health colleges, including Human Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine and Nursing.

The system will include a coordinated care specialist who will have access to services offered through the Sparrow Children's Center and MSU pediatric clinics.

As children are referred by either their general pediatrician or family doctor, the system will match them to the specialty care they need, cutting down on referral time and making it easier for parents to navigate the health care system.

Simon said the referral system is a significant step in that direction.

"This moves us toward a more coordinated level of care," she said.

Over 80 Sparrow, MSU, private practice and other physicians and providers currently partner to provide comprehensive pediatric care to mid-Michigan's young patients across 31 different medical subspecialties including allergy/immunology, neurology, pulmonology, cardiology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, nephrology, genetics, metabolism, oncology and hematology, infectious disease, neonatology, critical care, child abuse evaluation, pediatric surgery, urology, neurosurgery, radiology and pediatric rehabilitation. Additionally, Sparrow Children's Center, in conjunction with MSU faculty, offers the region's only full service pediatric emergency room, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric Rehabilitation program and Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Find more information on Sparrow Children's Center or on the MSU HealthTeam.