Today, MidMichigan Medical Center – Mt. Pleasant has 50 physicians and advanced practice providers in more than 20 different medical specialties, delivering a variety of medical services closer to home for many community members.
While the facility stands tall at about 125,000 square feet today, many remember a time when the facility was significantly smaller. When it was originally built in 2000, it was just 25,000 square feet and was known as MidMichigan Health Park – Mt. Pleasant. However, its mission has always remained the same.
After a $32 million investment in 2017, MidMichigan Medical Center – Mt. Pleasant now provides a 24/7 Emergency Department among many other services.
“What we focus on is providing care closest to home,” says Marita Hattem-Schiffman, president, MidMichigan Medical Centers in Clare, Gratiot and Mt. Pleasant. “At the Health Park, that meant providing primary care and the services to support them, plus visiting specialists. Now, as a Medical Center, that means providing everything you would find in a hospital except in-patient beds.”
Explore the history of MidMichigan Medical Center – Mt. Pleasant
When MidMichigan Health decided to build a facility in Mt. Pleasant in 2000, two primary factors played into that decision: need and relationships.
Jennifer Ebnit, director of operations, MidMichigan Medical Center – Mt. Pleasant“There was a community that had a need and the number one need we heard from them was: ‘more doctors, more choices.’ With MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland being just 25 miles down the road, we had a unique opportunity to serve the community by bringing more primary care providers and specialists right here to Mt. Pleasant, with the added convenience of on-site ancillary services,” says Jennifer Ebnit, director of operations for MidMichigan Medical Center – Mt. Pleasant.
When the facility opened, it provided the community with access to primary care physicians, visiting specialists, rehabilitation services, radiology, cardiovascular services, and an aquatic pool. The next big step came in 2005 when the Medical Center in Gratiot became a full subsidiary of MidMichigan Health.
“There were lots of providers in the Mt. Pleasant area who worked with Gratiot or were employed by Gratiot. So, when that relationship with MidMichigan Health developed further, that meant we now had even more providers already in the community providing specialty services and primary care services.”
This partnership helped pave the way for what MidMichigan Medical Center – Mt. Pleasant is today. Health care used to be provided through informal relationships – with primary care physicians referring to specialists that they happened to know. That began changing in the 2000’s, and MidMichigan Health was right in the middle of helping that transition happen in Mt. Pleasant.
The state-of-the-art Emergency Department at MidMichigan Medical Center – Mt. Pleasant provides 24/7 care.
“Informal connections developed into formal ones so we could develop seamless systems of care for patients,” says Hattem-Schiffman.
Discover what MidMichigan Medical Center – Mt. Pleasant is today
When MidMichigan Health decided to invest in upgrading the facility to create MidMichigan Medical Center – Mt. Pleasant with everything from a fully-function emergency room to on-site specialty services to expert cancer treatment - it was for one primary reason: the community asked for it.
“We kept hearing, ‘Why don’t you have this here?’ So we talked to the community and asked specifically what services they wanted, and those are the services we prioritized in our new Medical Center,” said Ebnit. “The goal of the project was to bring care to one place for the patient so they didn’t have to go all over town.”
State-of-the-art equipment enables providers at MidMichigan Health – Mt. Pleasant to provide a variety of services in one location so patients don’t have to travel across the state or even across town for care.
Opened in 2017 after a $32 million investment, MidMichigan Medical Center – Mt. Pleasant now provides a 24/7 emergency department, Ambulatory Surgery Center for outpatient procedures, a Cancer and Infusion Center, outpatient rehabilitation services, and a full team of on-site primary care providers and specialists in family medicine, orthopedics, OB/GYN, pulmonology, and more.
The facility’s Ambulatory Surgery Center that opened with 2017’s renovation is the only one in the region, and stays as busy as a typical community hospital, says Hattem-Schiffman.
“We do total knee replacements here. We do the operation and take you to your first physical therapy appointment right here in the building, and help you go home same day. Before, they would replace that knee, put you to bed, feed you in the morning, coax you to physical therapy, and that’s not good for you. Now, you can go home and be much more active in your recovery,” she says.
Designed for comfort during what may be a stressful time, MidMichigan Medical Center – Mt. Pleasant has several waiting rooms throughout the facility to accommodate the different services patients need.
Ebnit adds that the outcomes of outpatient surgery are often better than the outcomes of patients who stay for the night in a hospital.
The facility also features a state-of-the-art Cancer and Infusion Center. Hattem-Schiffman says this facility provides the same high-quality standard of cancer care available in Ann Arbor so patients don’t have to travel long distances. Furthermore, since MidMichigan Health is aligned in a clinical and business partnership with Michigan Medicine, the health care division of the University of Michigan, they can provide expedited admissions when patients do need to travel to Ann Arbor for more specialized care, and close coordination of care to improve outcomes during and after treatment.
The Cancer and Infusion Center at MidMichigan Medical Center – Mt. Pleasant provides the same high-quality standard of cancer care available in Ann Arbor so patients don’t have to travel long distances. Furthermore, since MidMichigan Health is aligned in a clinical and business partnership with Michigan Medicine, the health care division of the University of Michigan, they can provide expedited admissions when patients do need to travel to Ann Arbor for more specialized care, and close coordination of care to improve outcomes during and after treatment.
The process of improving access to convenient care close to home didn’t stop after 2017’s upgrade, though.
“In 2018, we opened 24/7 lab and X-ray. People can come in at 3 a.m. and get a lab or X-ray taken. That helps people be more compliant. If they need a lab, and they have problems getting in because of their schedule, this helps,” says Ebnit. “You can also make an appointment for your lab online so you don’t have to wait.” CT is also available by appointment 24/7.
The treatment rooms in the Cancer and Infusion Center at MidMichigan Medical Center – Mt. Pleasant feature a window, state-of-the-art heated and massage chairs, seat for a guest, and the ability to open a sliding door to talk with fellow patients.
Though MidMichigan Medical Center – Mt. Pleasant provides a wide variety of services, there is one service that it doesn’t provide and it is something Ebnit and Hattem-Schiffman say they get a lot of questions about: inpatient beds.
Marita Hattem-Schiffman, president, MidMichigan Medical Centers in Clare, Gratiot and Mt. Pleasant They say the primary reason the facility doesn’t have any inpatient beds is that there simply wasn’t a need. As health care evolves, more and more care can now be safely delivered at home or on an outpatient basis, so there is less need for inpatient beds, and there are several options for inpatient care already meeting that need nearby. With the average cost of building one patient room hovering around $1 million, doing so would have taken away from other more essential services that they’ve been able to provide instead.
“If we had spent one-third of our funds to build 10 inpatient beds, knowing that only a tiny portion of the population needs that type of care at any given time, we wouldn’t have been able to provide services that serve 99 percent of the community need on a much more frequent basis,” says Hattem-Schiffman.
“We’ve designed this by listening to what the community was asking for and creating something new and innovative for them.”
Beyond creating a facility that cares for the needs of the patients, it was also important to create a facility that cared for its physicians, a facility that now has nation-leading employee engagement.
The Emergency Department at MidMichigan Medical Center – Mt. Pleasant also has two fully-equipped trauma rooms for life saving emergencies.
“One of the myths in Mt. Pleasant was that you can’t recruit physicians to work here. Yet, we designed our facility and our model of care to support clinicians, as well as patients,” says Hattem-Schiffman. “They work in more of a team-based setup with an efficient layout and a wealth of supporting specialties and services. We went from struggling to recruit primary care to recruiting six in one year and they have all stayed.”
Learn what the future of MidMichigan Medical Center – Mt. Pleasant looks like
As MidMichigan Medical – Mt. Pleasant celebrates the past 20 years, it is also looking forward to what the next 20 years might look like.
“We know nationally the trend is to keep patients out of the hospital – not only are those rooms expensive to build, but they are expensive to provide care for. So the focus has been really on primary care and having a relationship with your primary care provider so your health stays within limits that you don’t have to be hospitalized,” says Ebnit. “So, within the next 20 years, we’ll see that your primary care provider is the coordinator of all the care you need. That will, in turn, keep you healthier.”
Physical and occupational rehabilitation are just a couple of the rehabilitation services provided at MidMichigan Medical Center – Mt. Pleasant.
Moving forward, the facility will keep asking the question, “How do we deliver care so it’s convenient for patients and so we can deliver it when they need it?”
“We will continue to seek opportunities to provide people with the care they need. We don’t live in a Monday through Friday 8-5 world. We live in a 24/7 world,” says Ebnit.
An on-site pharmacy at MidMichigan Medical Center – Mt. Pleasant helps ensure patients receive and take the medications they need. “We know people who leave without medications often will not go get or take the medications they need,” says Hattem-Schiffman.
Additionally, the facility is looking to be a role model in the community and expand partnerships that can help create a healthier, more vibrant community for everyone, says Hattem-Schiffman.
“Our intent is to partner more with people and experts who can help address issues that are causing people to not be healthy – access to food, impossibly high rent, access to transportation, access to education,” she says. “We’re trying to become more active in those things. We know we’re not the expert at all of it, but we can get the conversation going with those people and through collaboration make a bigger impact.”
“Everybody wants to be part of something bigger than themselves and know they’re making a meaningful contribution; so, it’s important to us to tie everything we do in this building to how we’re changing a life, impacting a family, and making this community healthier.”