Sparrow & MSU Combining Efforts for Children's Medical Care

By: News Ten
By: News Ten

Sparrow Hospital and Michigan State University plan to consolidate pediatric services in one Lansing location. Hospital staff believe the move, announced Monday, will improve pediatric care and access to services in the greater Lansing area.

Currently, parents with seriously ill children often have to leave mid-Michigan or visit multiple offices to see the specialist they need. Sparrow says the consolidation will put more than 80 pediatric doctors, in 30 different specialties, just one call away from the patients that need them.

"This is what it's all about, care as close to home as possible," Dennis Swan, President and CEO of Sparrow Health System said. "That's really important for everybody. Time can really be a factor especially for little ones, whose conditions can sometimes worsen very quickly."

Sparrow and MSU want to see emergency, neonatal, critical care and other pediatric services under one roof. The goal is to streamline the process for parents and get sick kids to the best physicians possible.

"No matter what the pediatric specialty needs you have, you make that one call," Sparrow Children's Medicine Director Stephen Guertin explained. "It's not to the MSU Childrens Center, it's not to the Sparrow Children's Center, it's to Children's, it's to the Childrens Center for the whole region and you will get the care you need."

The afternoon announcement carries extra weight for parents because pediatric specialists are in short supply. Some feared, MSU faculty practicing here in Lansing, would move to Grand Rapids. The university recently teamed up with state-of-the-art DeVos Children's Hospital there.

"We look forward to growing that partnership, but we are very much intent and serious about growing our presence here in Lansing," Dean Marsha Rappley, with MSU's College of Human Medicine said.

Rappley says the consolidation echoes that intent, and will also help the university bring more doctors to mid-Michigan.

"We think it's really going to help us with recruitment," she said.

University and Sparrow leaders say they are currently working to find a home for those consolidated pediatric services. At this point, the Sparrow Professional Building is the preferred site due to its proximity to the hospital.

Longterm, Swan says the partners would like to see a brand new building. Parents could see changes as early as this summer, with a new pediatric resource and referral service. The number will serve as a single contact point for all specialty care by Sparrow Hospital and the MSU HealthTeam.

Building changes will take longer because renovations will be involved. The timeline for that work has not been determined.

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