Welcome to West Michigan Rheumatology
We understand that our care to you is an essential medical service and that you count on us. Many rheumatology patients have diseases, or take medications, that require intensive monitoring and management. We have adapted so that we can provide care in the safest manner in person and via TeleVisits. Learn more. We strive to see new patients within 2 weeks of referral.
Our four rheumatologists trained in different national centers of excellence:
- University of Pittsburgh
- Mayo Clinic
- University of Tennessee – Memphis
- University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Each brings unique experience and perspective. You benefit from our collective knowledge and collaboration.
COVID-19 and Vaccine Information
Should people with rheumatic diseases or whom take immunosuppressives get the COVID Vaccine?
Yes, the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized three vaccines for prevention of COVID-19: Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s. Any of the 3 currently available vaccines would be fine. There is no ‘best’ vaccine. None of them are considered “live” and will not cause infection. Other than the generally expected mild/moderate side effects reported from a vaccine, there are no other expected problems from the vaccine when given to rheumatology patients. In Michigan, between 1/1/2021 and 6/1/2021, 50,000 people were hospitalized with COVID. Less than 1% had been vaccinated. We believe the benefit of the vaccine to prevent severe disease/death, far outweighs any risk. Please refer to the ACR guide for holding or timing of meds if applicable – these are summarized in the table below.
We are receiving questions from our patients whether it is useful to test if they developed protective antibodies after taking a COVID-19 vaccine. None of the currently authorized tests have been specifically authorized to assess individuals who have received the vaccine. There is no established protocol or payment mechanism for standard SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing at this time, which means it is possible ‘non-indicated’ testing of this type may not be covered by insurance. Click to read the CDC Guidelines on COVID-19 Antibody Testing.
The American College of Rheumatology published guidance on whether there is a need to adjust the timing of specific anti-rheumatic drugs when one receives the COVID-19 vaccine. See the summary below.
How to Get the Vaccine
In Michigan all adults, regardless of occupation or health status, are eligible to receive the vaccine after April 15, 2021.
The Department of Health and Human Services has developed a distribution plan that utilizes all the typical outlets used to give the annual flu vaccine. Multiple private and public outlets are giving the vaccine now.
Click the green hyperlinks below to see information about scheduling a vaccine appointment (or to receive notification when it available for you).
The team at WMR will add more details to this page as they develop. Updated June 15, 2021.
Integrated Clinical Care
We strive to provide outstanding care for patients with immune-mediated and rheumatic disease, including rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, poly and dermatomyositis, psoriatic arthritis and various types of vasculitis. Our four full-time rheumatologists bring you the benefit of deep clinical experience and translational research.
In our model of care, we provide patient care, teach medical learners and conduct research seamlessly at one site. We promise you will always see your rheumatologist, never an assistant, and will never be charged a facility fee. To make care more coordinated, our electronic medical records are linked and communicate with many other systems including: MercyHealth, Spectrum Health, MetroHealth, Borgess and Mayo Clinic.
Nationally Recognized Quality
MIPS is a mandated national medical quality program. Electronic medical records are used to continuously audit and report your physician’s interaction with each patient. This attempts to measure and compare quality of care with the goal of improving patient experience by encouraging patient centered care.
In 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 West Michigan Rheumatology achieved a maximum MIPs Quality Score of 100%, distinguishing our practice as providing the highest quality care by the Centers for Medicare Services (CMS).
Championing Shared Decision-Making
Shared decision-making (SDM) is an underpinning of patient centered care. It begins with an attitude of mutual respect between the physician and patient and takes form in the dialogue where facts, personal values and choice are shared. The MSU College of Human Medicine and faculty at West Michigan Rheumatology have been early leaders in developing and implementing SDM as a clinical science. We have published our translational research in multiple peer reviewed journals. As shared decision making is identified as a MIPS improvement activity – the use of patient decision aids to support shared decision-making is one indicator of high quality care. This demonstrates that listening and caring are core values at WMR.
Committed & Trusted
Since 1991 we have:
- Seen >100,000 new patients
- Trained > 400 medical learners
- Completed > 75 clinical trials
- Published > 80 scholarly articles
`The best interest of the patient is the only interest to be considered.’
William Mayo, MD 1910