DMC: Some Wayne State pediatricians can practice at Children's Hospital

Karen Bouffard
The Detroit News

Some pediatricians on the Wayne State University faculty can still practice medicine at DMC Children's Hospital of Michigan — but most still are banned, the Detroit Medical Center said Wednesday.

The Detroit News reported Tuesday that Wayne State School of Medicine Dean Mark Schweitzer had told faculty that the DMC had banned WSU faculty pediatricians from working at Children's Hospital in Detroit.

In a Tuesday morning letter to faculty, Schweitzer said he had been informed by the DMC and its for-profit owner, Dallas-based Tenet Health that the Wayne State medical school's faculty pediatricians could no longer practice at the children's hospital. 

Detroit Medical Center's Children's Hospital of Michigan main entrance in Detroit on Mar. 31, 2020.

In its Wednesday statement, the DMC said Wayne State faculty pediatricians can provide some specialty services to patients at Children's Hospital. The DMC has two Children's Hospitals, one in Detroit and another in Troy.

The issue stems from a conflict between two separate practice groups that represent pediatricians working at the eight-hospital health system — one representing pediatricians on the faculty at Wayne State, and other affiliated with the medical school at Central Michigan University. 

Most pediatricians at the Detroit Medical Center belong to University Pediatricians, a practice group with as many as 250 members that has represented DMC pediatricians for about 30 years.

The group historically represented pediatricians on the faculty at Wayne State University, but the group split  from the university last year and formed an affiliation with Central Michigan University. 

In response, about 25 Wayne State faculty pediatricians formed their own group practice, called Wayne Pediatrics. The new group required pediatricians to choose between the two organizations, and those who remained with University Pediatricians were terminated from the Wayne State University faculty.

"DMC regrets that Wayne State chose to develop a competing pediatric group which has resulted in a potential separation in the pediatric community that has been a hallmark of excellence in Detroit and at Children’s Hospital of Michigan for decades," the health system said. 

"Physicians who left to join Wayne Pediatrics will remain members of the Detroit Medical Center medical staff.  Wayne Pediatrics physicians can care for patients at Children’s Hospital of Michigan for specialty services which are not part of the exclusive contract with University Pediatricians, and can care for their patients at all other DMC facilities."

Dr. Herman Gray, chair of pediatrics at the Wayne State University medical school, complained Tuesday that banning all WSU faculty pediatricians from practicing at Children's Hospital would deprive some patients of specialty care not available from doctors represented by the University Pediatricians practice group, including specialists in pediatric HIV and AIDS treatment, and the region's only pediatrician board certified in adolescent medicine. 

“The DMC statement appears to be intentionally vague and misleading, leaving several unanswered questions, such as whether Wayne Pediatrics can admit and consult on patients as their privileges allow, and what specialty services are not covered in the alleged exclusivity arrangement," Wayne State said in a written response Wednesday to DMC's statement.

"The bottom line remains that based on what we now know, this act removes dedicated pediatricians from a hospital where they've served children for decades, in the midst of a global pandemic.”

Twitter: @kbouffardDN