Granholm, Detroit Region Business Leaders Expand Health Care Panel to Assess Southeast Michigan Needs

Contact: Michelle Begnoche 517-335-6397

May 21, 2007
LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today said her administration will partner with the Detroit Regional Chamber and Detroit Renaissance to assess the medical education and indigent health care needs in Southeast Michigan.  The governor has made additional appointments to a panel formed by the two business organizations last month, which is expected to offer recommendations by September 1.
"Access to health care and health care education are issues critical to our families and our economic well-being," said Granholm.  "Detroit Renaissance and the Detroit Regional Chamber have assembled an impressive group of community leaders to assess the health care needs in the area.  Their recommendations will impact future decisions on health care policy in the region as well as public policy in Lansing."
Granholm highlighted a series of recent announcements in the health care industry as evidence of the need to assess both health care and medical education in Southeast Michigan.  An objective analysis of current and future trends will help ensure that citizens' needs continue to be met, she said. 
In the last two months, St. John's Health Care System announced Riverview Hospital will stop admitting patients later this year, Oakland University (OU) and Beaumont Hospitals announced a partnership to establish a new medical school on the OU campus, and Michigan State University selected the Detroit Medical Center (DMC) and Macomb Community College as satellite campuses for its College of Osteopathic Medicine.
"Business and health care industry leaders are making decisions regarding both health care and medical education in our region," said Richard E. Blouse, Jr., president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber.  "Collaboration between providers and educators is critical to ensure that citizens continue to have access to care and that this industry continues to thrive."
Detroit Renaissance President Doug Rothwell said, "The business community understands that medical education and research play a critical role in driving the region's economy.  The experts assembled in this group will help develop a long-term strategy."
Former Congressman Joe Schwarz, M.D., chairs the panel, which already includes a number of area business leaders.  Granholm appointments to the group include several health care industry leaders.
In addition to Rothwell and Blouse, Governor Granholm's appointees are:  Mark Gaffney, president of the Michigan State AFL-CIO; Janet Olszewski, director of the Michigan Department of Community Health; Vernice Anthony, president and CEO, Greater Detroit Area Health Council; Dennis R. Toffolo, deputy county executive of Oakland County, and Dr. Robert Kelch, executive vice president for medical affairs, University of Michigan.
Besides Schwarz, original panel members include, Randolph Agley, chairman and CEO of The Talon Group; Jon Barfield, chairman and president of The Bartech Group; Alfred Glancy, chairman, Unico Investment Company; Richard M. Gabrys, retired vice chairman of Deloitte and dean of the School of Business Administration of Wayne State University (WSU); Daniel J. Loepp, president and CEO of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan; Florine Mark, president and CEO of the WW Group; Leslie Murphy, group managing partner of Plante Moran; Cynthia J.Pasky, president, CEO and founder of Strategic Staffing Solutions; Daniel F. Ponder, CEO of Franco Public Relations Group; and Richard Russell, CEO of Amerisure Insurance Company.
One of the critical issues the panel will address is graduate medical education, including residency programs taking the place of a panel the governor agreed to appoint after WSU and DMC reached an agreement on their joint medical residency program in November 2006.  In addition to announcing her partnership with area business leaders, Granholm also urged the medical school and the DMC to conclude the comprehensive contract that was to accompany the binding agreement they reached in marathon talks in the governor's office.
"Wayne State University and the DMC have long been partners in providing outstanding education, medical research, and health care to the citizens of metro Detroit," said Granholm.  "Continuing that relationship will ensure that citizens have access to the care they need."
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