Tenet, DMC temporarily suspend breakup with 300-member physician group, agree to extend contract

Detroit Medical Center and Troy, Mich.-based Wayne State University Physician Group agreed to a six-month contract extension May 7, tentatively reversing their joint decision to end partnership negotiations, The Detroit News reports.

Under the six-month extension, WSUPG physicians will continue clinical and administrative services at at least three DMC hospitals. The organizations' separate agreement allowing Wayne State medical school students to train at DMC hospitals was unaffected by the deadline.

During the first 90 days of the extension, a 14-member joint advisory committee comprising DMC and WSUPG officials will explore "a new working model for the two institutions," allowing WSUPG physicians to continue their clinical and administrative services at DMC, according to a joint statement issued by both organizations May 7.

"If successful, this new framework will be implemented during the succeeding 90-day period. If they are unable to reach an agreement on a new path forward, they will use the second 90-day period to transition coverage of selected services," Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson, MD, said in a statement May 7.

WSU School of Medicine Dean Jack Sobel, MD, confirmed the contract extension and said, "We believe this approach can result in an arrangement in the best interests of all parties, especially our patients."

The news comes days after both organizations announced their intent to dissolve their nearly 100-year-old partnership agreement. In a statement last week, DMC CEO Anthony Tedeschi, MD, said talks ended because DMC's relationship with Wayne State leaders became "acrimonious," referencing an April letter from Wayne State leadership that placed a May 15 deadline on contract negotiations.

However, sources from DMC and its parent company, Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, told The Detroit News DMC and leaders of the 300-member physician group were still engaged in discussions despite publicly calling for an end to their partnership, according to the report.

If the organizations are not able to rescue the partnership, thousands of DMC hospital patients, university medical school students and hundreds of physicians will be affected, the report states.

To access The Detroit News report, click here.

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