The Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System and the University of Michigan Health System, located adjacent to one another, have become more than just neighbors.

On Monday, the VA signed a $866,574 multi-year lease agreement for 24,600 square feet in the headquarters of the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation at the University’s North Campus Research Complex.

The VA’s Center for Clinical Management Research, which investigates solutions to various health issues, will join more than 400 University faculty and students in the facility, according to Eve Kerr, director of the center and professor of internal medicine at the University Medical School.

Kerr said she believes the NCRC will be an attractive area for collaboration between the University and the VA health care system.

“In general, NCRC is rapidly becoming a hub for interdisciplinary research and partnerships between the University and outside entities,” Kerr said. “So, the potential for VA researchers to work alongside U-M researchers in the same building and as part of the same institute made this possibility very attractive.”

The VA’s CCMR will move 150 researchers to the new building, which will free the 20,000 square feet the CCMR currently occupies in the VA Hospital for additional veteran facilities, Kerr said.

The lease agreement strengthens ties between the University and the VA, which cares for more than 8 million veterans, according to Kerr. Most of the researchers in the CCMR are also VA doctors, University faculty at the Medical School, School of Public Health or School of Nursing or colleagues at the University Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

The IHPI will not only aid the health care of veterans, but the UMHS as well, according to Kerr.

“While our research focuses on improving care for veterans, much of our work is also applicable to health care delivery at the University of Michigan Health System and many other health care systems,” Kerr said. “Having CCMR be a partner of the newly established University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation brings incredible synergies.”

CCMR research studies the impact of changes to health care, specifically for veterans. With the new space, it hopes to find pragmatic solutions to the most common and costly clinical management challenges to improve the health care of veterans. Some of the most studied cases include heart disease, diabetes, mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“CCMR studies ways to improve the quality, effectiveness, safety and efficiency of veterans’s healthcare,” Kerr said. “Many of our researchers study ways to improve performance measures and clinical decision support for conditions like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. We have a core group studying approaches to improve patient safety for hospitalized patients.”

The CCMR also includes the VA Serious Mental Illness Treatment, Research, and Evaluation Center and the Diabetes Quality Enhancement Research Initiative. Programs run collaboratively by both entities will also be included in the move including the Patient Safety Enhancement Program, the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine and the program on Quality Improvement for Complex Chronic Conditions.

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