Sep. 15, 2016

UBMD growing through partnership with Great Lakes Medical Imaging

Sep 9, 2016, 1:56pm

One of the region’s largest private radiology groups is coming together with a University at Buffalo physician practice.

The partnership will make the 35 providers at Great Lakes Medical Imaging part of the radiology faculty within the Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences while growing the size and depth of the UBMD Radiology practice group. They’ll also provide care to the community through UB’s hospital partners in the Great Lakes Health System.

GLMI will continue to operate its own six outpatient centers and provide services to the community while gaining the ability to conduct clinical research and help build a pipeline of radiologists in the region, said Dr. Kenneth Pearsen, co-founder and president of GLMI and now chairman of UB’s department of radiology and president of the UBMD Radiology practice plan.

“Assimilating ourselves into the UBMD infrastructure allows us to expand our clinical service as well as to do research and education,” he said. “An ulterior motivation is to see if our affiliation with UBMD can make us stronger in collaborating with other specialties and to bring much greater care to the community.”

For UB, the relationship will strengthen its faculty ranks and support the reestablishment of a radiology residency program, said Dr. Michael Cain, dean of the school of medicine and UB’s vice president for health sciences.

“The part that made all of this work was the fact the entire group of Great Lakes Medical Imaging elected to join the university and become part of the UBMD brand, helping us transform and expand a core department for any school of medicine,” he said.

The deal follows two years of talks.

UBMD Radiology is one of 18 practice groups that make up the UBMD Physicians Group, which together count more than 500 physicians affiliated with UB.

Before, UB’s radiology department was relatively small, with about 10 fulland part-time faculty who provided radiology training for medical students. Cain said it was clear the program needed more full-time faculty and more clinical radiologists, and they also needed to love teaching and contribute to clinical research.

“That’s what we wanted the radiology department to evolve to, and when we looked at how we achieve that goal and at several possibilities, truly the best one was to take advantage of the expertise that was here in Buffalo through Great Lakes Medical Imaging,” Cain said.

Both Cain and Pearsen said the need to re-establish a medical residency training program in Western New York was a key motivation for the new arrangement. UB voluntarily withdrew its program in 2006 partly as a response to the departure of several faculty members from the practice. Plans call for beginning the application process this year to pursue national accreditation through the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education, with a goal of enrolling its first class of residents in 2018.

“The program has been dormant for over a decade,” Pearsen said. “The greatest future source of well-trained radiologists for our community is a training program, so without a doubt we were losing out on great, qualified candidates.”

GLMI has provided radiology services at Kaleida Health’s hospitals for many years and will continue to do so under the UBMD Radiology moniker, while also becoming the sole provider of radiology services to Erie County Medical Center. It will continue to operate its outpatient clinics under the GLMI name.

Officials called the move “an important step forward” for the Great Lakes Health System, the planning entity that includes UB, Kaleida Health and ECMC, a state public benefit corporation. In April, state legislators approved amendments that expand ECMC’s ability to work with its partners.

Jody Lomeo, president and chief executive officer of Great Lakes Health and Kaleida Health said the partnership will help advance UB’s teaching mission and fill the pipelines of radiologists in the region.

His thoughts were echoed by Thomas Quatroche Jr., president and CEO at ECMC.

“This important initiative reinforces precisely what was envisioned by the partner organizations that came together as the Great Lakes Health System, fostering strong collaborative efforts that ultimately provide the highest quality health care options for the residents of Western New York,” he said.

Tracey Drury covers health/medical and nonprofits