Collaboration with Trinity Health IHA Urgent Care to improve access to services for U-M Health primary care patients

November 9, 2022  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership

Over the last several months, we have continued to struggle at many primary care locations to meet the urgent-care needs of patients who have chosen us as their primary care medical home. This is especially challenging with the recent surge of respiratory illnesses among our pediatric population.

“UMMG continues to prioritize recruitment of elite providers to join our primary care teams, so that we can restore better access for our primary care patients. In the meantime, while we’re recruiting additional faculty and looking at other ways to optimize care delivery, we have a responsibility to support our patients’ care needs,” said Amir Ghaferi, M.D., M.B.A., M.S., chief clinical officer of the U-M Medical Group (UMMG).

“Fortunately, our affiliation with Trinity Health Michigan presents an incredible opportunity to collaborate with our colleagues at Trinity Health IHA Urgent Care to provide a positive experience and ensure continuity of care for our patients.”

As part of a pilot that kicked off this month, primary care patients identified by our 24/7 centralized nurse triage service as needing an appointment, but for whom an appointment is not available within the recommended period of time, will be given an option to “Save their Spot” at one of 11 Trinity Health IHA Urgent Care locations.

“It is our privilege to work in collaboration with our University of Michigan Health colleagues together striving to deliver World class care,” said Matthew Ajluni, D.O., division head for Trinity Health IHA Urgent Care and Virtual Medicine. “We are committed to delivering a strong patient experience wedded to safe, high-quality evidence-based care while never losing sight of our patients comfort and convenience.”

The nurses on the Centralized Nurse Triage (CNT) service have the ability to directly schedule patients into the “Save a spot” system across most Trinity IHA Urgent Cares. The providers at Trinity Health IHA have access to the patient’s medical records, including the reason for the patient’s visit as described by the CNT team member. 

Further, the patient’s U-M Health primary care provider will also receive a summary of the urgent care encounter from the IHA Urgent Care provider over the CareEverywhere health information exchange, allowing the patient’s PCP to follow-up with the patient or provide appropriate referrals for additional testing or specialty care when needed.

“Patients are encouraged to still reach out to their primary care office, and every effort will be made to serve them through their U-M Health primary care clinic,” said Ghaferi, noting that urgent care video visits and e-visits are also available to U-M Health patients. “This additional service simply gives our providers an extra layer of support to ensure their patients have access to coordinated care even when clinics are experiencing high demand for available appointments.”

The success of the pilot will be evaluated relative to its impact on continuity of care and patient satisfaction.

“This new collaboration with Trinity Health IHA Urgent Care builds on a long-standing track record of our two organizations coming together to improve care for the communities we serve by ensuring that patients get access to the right care, at the right time, close to home whenever possible,” said Rafina Khateeb, M.D., M.B.A., associate medical director for Trinity Affiliates.

Under its existing affiliation agreement with Trinity Health Michigan, U-M Health collaborates with Trinity on a joint venture at Chelsea Hospital, a professional services agreement that provides for the U-M Health inpatient service on the 4th floor of Trinity Health Ann Arbor, in addition to a remote pediatric radiology service, and joint operating agreements expanding cancer and cardiovascular services on the west side of the state. Last month, the U-M Board of Regents also voted to approve a new joint operating agreement laying the groundwork for the top-ranked pediatric specialty services from C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital to be available through Trinity Health Oakland.

“Trinity Health Michigan has been an excellent partner for U-M Health as we continue to seek new ways to deliver high-quality care to patients across the state,” said David Miller M.D., president of U-M Health.