ANN ARBOR, Mich. — People want to be on the move. For some, that means continuing hobbies like golf, biking or walking. Others just want to be able to play with their children or grandchildren. Unfortunately, health challenges like arthritis, injuries, fractures and back problems may get in the way of the active lifestyle many hope to lead.
In anticipation of a growing need for bone, muscle, joint and spine care, the University of Michigan Health System is announcing an innovative approach to care through its new Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Center.
The Musculoskeletal Center brings more than 250 top physicians from 10 specialties across the U-M Medical School under one umbrella, helping position the U-M Health System as a regional and national leader in the field. Care teams will provide services at 50 different clinics located throughout Ann Arbor and Southeast Michigan with specialties ranging from rehabilitation after a sports injury to managing pain from arthritis or a back condition.
The new U-M brand will also have a major presence at the Northville Health Center, the U-M Health System’s newest facility opening July 15. The Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Center at Northville will provide care related to arthritis, spine disease, pain management, sports medicine and fracture care. These services will continue to be offered at 21 other health system facilities across nine communities in Southeastern Michigan.
“This is a new approach to more effectively and efficiently serve patients with musculoskeletal problems in our health care system,” says James Carpenter, M.D., Chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the U-M Medical School and Chair of the Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Center.
“We recognize that while we house some of the nation’s leading doctors in high-demand musculoskeletal specialty areas, it’s not always easy for patients to find their way to the right specialist for their condition. Our Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Center will allow providers with expertise in different areas to work together in a more seamless manner that enhances care and treatment.”
The new effort comes as leaders anticipate a growing need for musculoskeletal care, especially with the aging population that often faces such problems as arthritis and fractures from osteoporosis.
“We know that more patients expect and desire to lead an active lifestyle later in life and into retirement. Our goal is to provide a robust model of care that helps people maintain physical function so that they can stay healthy and independent as long as possible,” says Edward Hurvitz, M.D., chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the U-M Medical School and Vice-Chair of the Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Center.
“Many of the musculoskeletal conditions requiring treatment are age-related, and the Musculoskeletal Center will help us meet this urgent and growing need for bone, joint and spine care in our community and beyond.”
The center will strengthen connections among experts across the health system and bring diagnostic and therapeutic services together, allowing for a wider range of treatment options than in a traditional physician’s office. Services range from advanced therapies to minimally invasive surgery, with everything from ultrasounds to MRIs managed within the center’s facilities.
This multidisciplinary coordination will also help patients get timely and accurate diagnosis and treatment. The Musculoskeletal Center’s arthritis clinic, for example, offers the expertise of rheumatologists, physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians and orthopaedic surgeons who work together to diagnose a patient and determine treatment options and whether surgery is recommended. For the patient, that may mean one appointment instead of being referred from one office to another.
Similar examples of coordinated care are seen in other areas, such as sports medicine and back injuries.
The Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Center will offer patients services from providers in the specialties of Anesthesia (pain), Family Medicine, Internal Medicine (General Medicine, Geriatrics, Rheumatology), Neurosurgery (spine), Orthopedic Surgery, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Radiology and Surgery (Plastic) and Emergency Medicine. These groups are integrating primary and specialty medicine programs with state-of-the-art techniques to operate under one name with a focus on musculoskeletal health and physical function.
The new center will also enhance research and education opportunities, bringing experts from diverse areas together to take a fresh look at stubborn problems in musculoskeletal health while also training future leaders in the field.
What else does the Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Center offer?
- UMHS is engaged in significant research on musculoskeletal disease, including cutting-edge research in pain, being among the top five institutions in the country for pain management research
- One of the largest collections of bone experts in the country
- Musculoskeletal education leader in Michigan and among the top programs in the Midwest and U.S.
- International leadership in musculoskeletal ultrasound
- Regional and national leader in sports medicine, with orthopaedic surgeons and physical therapists dedicated to the care of athletes. Faculty members are the team physicians for both U-M and Eastern Michigan University athletes.
- State-of-the-art imaging equipment and therapies, including musculoskeletal ultrasound, imaging-guided treatment, and imaging for soft-tissue and bone tumors.