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. We continue to see new and established patients, administer biologic therapy infusions and care in the context of clinical research studies. If you would be interested in arranging a TeleVisit , please telephone the office or email your rheumatologist through the web-portal. Learn more. We strive to see new patients within 2 weeks of referral.

COVID-19 and Vaccine Information

Click to read the CDC Update for High Risk Groups which includes persons including RA, lupus, scleroderma, vasculitis and others treated with immunosuppressives.

On 12/11/2020 the US Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of Pfizer’s and 12/17/2020 Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. 4 nations: the UK, Canada, USA and Mexico have now granted approval for public use of the Pfizer vaccine. If you would like to read a summary of the Pfizer clinical trial results in New England Journal of Medicine click the download button below.

The national roll-out of the COVID vaccine has begun!  Administration is based on a allocation program developed by the State of Michigan. This is displayed below.

Phase 1-a is to immunize hospital based healthcare workers, nursing home residents and staff.

Phase 1-b is to immunize anyone over 75 yo, teachers and other ‘essential frontline workers.’

Phase 1-c will be for people 18-64 yo who have medical conditions that put them at significantly increased risk of complications of COVID. This would include those who have rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriatic arthritis and similar rheumatic diseases who take immunomodulating medications. In addition all age 55 -74 yo regardless of health status.

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. The Kent County Department of Public Health is responsible for the allocating COVID vaccine in the community. Updates are available at their COVID website.

There will be multiple private and public outlets to distribute the vaccine from venders whom the public are familiar with. Click the green hyperlinks below to see information about scheduling a vaccine appointment (or to receive notification when it available for you).

It is generally recommended that patients with rheumatic diseases taking immunosuppressive drugs do seek out and take the COVID vaccine. Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines are ‘dead’ and safe for patients taking medications including prednisone, methotrexate, Enbrel, Remicade, Xeljanz etc.

There is no ‘best’ vaccine or place to get it other than the one that is available to you first. Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines are available first with Johnson and Johnson’s expected early in 2021. By spring, it is expected there will be up to 5 vaccines available in the US. For the most recent CDC updates click here.

An important practical difference is that Moderna’s vaccine is more flexible. Pfizer’s needs to be kept at super-cold temperatures ( -75 Celsius) and expires after five days. In contrast, Moderna’s vaccine can be kept at about minus-20 degrees Celsius, or about the temperature of a home freezer for 30 days before it expires. This means that more pharmacies and other clinical outlets will be able to give the Moderna vaccine.

The team at WMR will add more details to this page as they develop.

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 medical quality program.   Electronic medical records are used to continuously audit and report your physician’s interaction with each patient.  They attempt 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 an 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 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

WMR is an academically oriented community based rheumatology  specialty group. Our four rheumatologists trained in different national centers of excellence:

  • Mayo Clinic
  • Univ of Tennessee – Memphis
  • Univ of Pittsburgh
  • Univ of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Each brings unique experience and perspective.  You benefit from our collective knowledge and collaboration.

Since 1991 we have:
  • Seen >100,000 new patients
  • Trained > 400 medical learners
  • Completed > 70 clinical trials
  • Published > 80 scholarly articles

`The best interest of the patient is the only interest to be considered.’
William Mayo, MD 1910