The University of Michigan Health System is expanding urology services to Flint.

UMHS announced Monday it will begin providing specialty-level urology consultations and care to patients at a new clinic in Flint beginning Jan. 28. The clinic will be housed within the Hamilton Community Health Network.

According to the press release, the clinic will operate on the fourth Wednesday of every month. John Stoffel, associate professor of urology, and John Wei, professor of urology, will alternate seeing patients.

In the statement, Michael Giacalone Jr., chief medical officer at Hamilton Community Health Network, said he was satisfied with the new partnership.

“I’m very pleased that the U-M Department of Urology has decided to locate their new clinic in our facility,” he wrote. “Now — in addition to the many other medical, dental, vision, and pharmacy services we already provide — we’ll also be able to connect patients who have complex urologic conditions with Michigan’s world-class experts who specialize in these areas.”

The University’s urology clinic is ranked 14th in the country by U.S. News and World Report, and the University’s urology residency program was recently ranked 7th in the country by physicians on Doximity, a networking website for physicians.

The clinic where UMHS will operate is a Federally Qualified Health Center, a place for individuals who are under-insured or uninsured. It has already hosted University students doing internal medicine rotations, as well as a University OB/GYN.

UMHS is partnered with over 20 other health systems and medical practices across the state, offering specialty outreach clinics. The clinic at HCHN is one of a number of recent partnerships for UMHS, the most notable of which is the alliance with Allegiance Health, signed in late 2013.

In an interview with The Michigan Daily Thursday, Wei said UMHS expansion is good for the state because it provides more treatment options for residents.

“Geography is important for a number of reasons, one of which is that the University has a lot of expertise that elsewhere in the state, they don’t have,” he said. “This isn’t the first time we’re reaching out. A lot of this is also just doing the right thing for people. It kind of is, in some sense, just doing good.”

Wei will see more male patients on average, while Stoffel specializes in working with female patients, though the two do switch from time to time. Urologic conditions that will be treated include benign prostatic hyperplasia, fistula, genitourinary injuries, hematuria, neurogenic bladder, urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, urinary retention and urinary stones.

According to Wei, patients in the area with urological conditions previously were forced to look elsewhere for treatment options. He added that many patients in Flint also do not have easy access to transportation.

“Because of the outright disinterest or refusal of the private urologists in town to help out with their patients, essentially telling them they can go to (the University) to get seen, the clinic had to find another way,” he said.

Most of the patients who will be seen at first will be current HCHN, which already has primary care providers and physicians.

Wei said the clinic could face several challenges, including less up-to-date equipment as compared to University facilities.

“We are a little hampered, I confess, because the clinic doesn’t have all the equipment we are used to,” Wei said. “They are quite expensive, so we can’t offer a full range of service right now. However, if things takes off and we get busy, maybe there will be more funds from the government at some point.”

He added that the clinic’s schedule for the first day next Wednesday is already full.

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