Rift grows between Wayne State University and pediatric practice over affiliation agreement

Even with the best clients, be careful when you agree to their special contract clauses.
There's an ongoing dispute between Wayne State University and a pediatrics practice. (Getty/Saklakova)

As physician practices affiliate with healthcare systems, there are bound to be conflicts. That’s certainly the case between Wayne State University in Detroit and a pediatrics practice there.

The growing rift between the two parties came to a head yesterday as top officials from the university met with about 50 faculty members of the medical school’s pediatric department, according to Crain’s Detroit Business. M. Roy Wilson, M.D., Wayne State president, told the pediatricians to make a choice to either remain part of the university or become a private medical group practice, according to the report.

The university’s dispute is with the 170-physician pediatric practice group University Pediatricians, the medical school’s quasi-independent group, which has an affiliation agreement with Wayne State, according to the report. The dispute involves both money and control of the practice group.

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David Hefner, the university’s vice president of health affairs, told Crain’s that a teaching contract signed last fall by University Pediatricians was subverted by the practice plan and Tenet Healthcare Corp. Many of the pediatricians in the group also provide services at the Detroit Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital of Michigan, which is owned by the Tenet healthcare chain. A big issue in the dispute is whether the practice can sign a teaching contract with Detroit Medical Center under its affiliation agreement with Wayne State, according to Crain’s.

A pediatrician who attended the meeting told Crain’s that he understood if an agreement cannot be reached, Wayne State would create its own pediatric practice plan and recruit physicians. The dispute may ultimately be decided in the courts

RELATED: 1 in 4 physician practices now hospital-owned

More doctors than ever are now affiliated with large hospital systems, creating challenges to their independence. The year 2016 marked a tipping point for physician practices, as practice owners are no longer the majority, according to a survey by the American Medical Association.