Bariatric & Weight Loss Services

Here at Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital, our mission is to provide quality health and wellness services for the people of our region. That’s why we teamed up with Grand Health Partners; together, we now offer more comprehensive weight loss programs that are customized to the needs of our patients.

Bariatrics is a specialized branch of medicine that focuses on analyzing the causes of obesity, assisting with preventive measures, and administering treatments or bariatric services. The bariatric services provided by Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital and Grand Health Partners offer the expert support you need to transform your life.

B.J. Ash shares his bariatric surgery testimony.

Bariatric Surgery Testimonial Videos


We Understand Obesity

The safest and most effective way to tackle obesity is with guidance from qualified medical experts who have a firm understanding of the condition. We understand obesity – and we believe that educating our patients on their condition is the first crucial step that brings patients closer to actualizing their health and weight goals.

Here are the fundamental facts about obesity:

1. Obesity Is a Complex Metabolic Disease

Metabolic syndrome is a medical term for the combination of excess fat around the waist, high triglyceride levels, reduced good cholesterol, elevated blood sugar, and hypertension.  Being overweight or obese can trigger metabolic syndrome in certain individuals. 

Losing weight is one way to treat metabolic syndrome, however, this condition can also make losing weight even more challenging. This puts a patient in a complex cycle that may call for bariatric services.

2. Genetic, Social, Cultural, and Emotional Factors Lead to Obesity – Not a Lack of Willpower

Though a societal myth around obesity attributes its cause to a lack of willpower, this is oftentimes not the case. A combination of genetic predisposition, cultural elements, increased stress due to social/emotional factors, and even certain medications can all play a role in causing a patient to develop obesity.

3. Obesity Is a Leading Cause of Preventable Death in the United States

Obesity is second only to smoking as a leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Additionally, one in five deaths of African Americans and Caucasians aged 40 to 85 is linked to obesity. Without proactive action, this mortality rate will increase across generations. 

If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from obesity, time is of the essence. Quick action can help prevent further complications down the line. SCMH, together with Grand Health Partners, can give you the best options for weight loss and help you begin your journey towards a healthier state of life. 

The Grand Health Partners Difference

Founded in 2008, Grand Health Partners is a medical group practice located in Grand Rapids. Grand Health Partners specializes in surgical and non-surgical weight loss solutions. Their team of experts is trained in providing coaching on dietary, behavioral, and exercise habits while the patient is safely monitored by highly-experienced bariatric physicians.

For the past 12 years and counting, they have helped over 16,000 patients with their targeted and effective bariatric services. They are, indeed, a trusted partner in transforming lives and improving overall health through tailored weight loss programs. 

Our Bariatric Services

In partnership with Grand Health Partners, Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital provides top-notch and comprehensive bariatric services. Depending on a patient’s individual case, they can opt for non-surgical weight loss methods or bariatric surgery.

Non-surgical weight loss involves the use of an expertly designed, tailor-fit medical weight management program that will safely and effectively bring the patient’s weight to a healthy or desired range – without the need for surgery.

In some cases, however, bariatric surgery may be recommended or chosen. These surgical solutions aid in long-term weight control and include sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass (Roux-En-Y), and duodenal switch. Whenever possible, the experienced bariatric surgeons from Grand Health Partners opt to perform bariatric surgeries laparoscopically – resulting in smaller incisions and a faster recovery time for the patient.

Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy

This is one of the most common bariatric surgical procedures. With the vertical sleeve gastrectomy, food is allowed to pass through and be processed by the digestive system like normal. However, the procedure will result in limiting the size of the stomach to about 4-6 fluid ounces by safely removing a portion of it, leaving a long vertical tube or ‘sleeve’ in its place. 

Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass

The Roux-En-Y gastric bypass bariatric surgery involves the creation of a small upper pouch for the stomach (roughly the size of an egg) and a larger “remnant” pouch. The small intestine is then rearranged so that it connects to both pouches. After the surgery, the patient will be able to feel full with less food due to the limited size of the stomach’s upper pouch. This leads to a gradual and safe weight loss process for the patient.

Duodenal Switch

The duodenal switch procedure is yet another highly effective type of bariatric surgery. The first stage of this procedure is sleeve gastrectomy which reduces the size of the stomach. Next, the small intestine is rearranged much further down so that two-thirds or more of the intestines is bypassed. 

With the decreased size of the stomach along with restricted absorption from the small intestines, patients can feel full even with moderate portions of food and will be able to keep the weight off long-term due to restricted intestinal absorption.  

Following surgery, the average bariatric patient loses 60 to 70% of excess weight within three years. It’s important to note that bariatric surgery is a weight-loss tool that requires an ongoing commitment to healthy eating and exercise.

Are You A Candidate for Bariatric Surgery?

Before and after image: Judith Gonzalez

If you have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 and above, you are a potentially good candidate for bariatric surgery. Additionally, your physician may be more inclined to refer you to bariatric surgery if you are suffering from the following conditions, along with the excess weight:

  • Type 2 diabetes;
  • Sleep apnea; and/or
  • High blood pressure.

Gain More from Life Today

Undergoing healthy, physician-guided weight loss techniques and procedures provide plenty of benefits. Because the weight loss is gradual and consistent, it is physically safe and emotionally rewarding. These benefits include:

  • Relief from the symptoms of metabolic syndrome;
  • The long-term remission for type 2 diabetes;
  • The elimination of obstructive sleep apnea;
  • Relief from depression and/or other related mental health issues;
  • Better joint health;
  • Improved stamina, energy, and activity level; and
  • Improved fertility.

Before and after image: Theresa Buist

If you or someone you love is suffering from obesity, we want you to remember that there are safe and effective options out there and a whole team of experienced medical professionals who are more than happy to help! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.


Dr. Paul Kemmeter, M.D., F.A.C.S. received his B.S. from University of Michigan and his M.D. degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. He is an Assistant Professor of Surgery for Michigan State College of Human Medicine and currently serves as the Associate Program Director of the GRMERC-MSU General Surgery residency program. He is also the medical director of Bariatric Surgery at St. Mary’s Health Care. Along with performing bariatric surgery, he also performs General Surgery procedures including Acute Care surgeries and Advanced Laparoscopy including ventral and inguinal hernia surgeries, gallbladder surgery, appendectomies and other emergency surgeries.



  • Board Certifications: American Board of Surgery
  • Fellowship: Surgical Critical Care
  • Residency: Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital
  • Medical School: Michigan State University College of Human Medicine
  • Undergraduate: BS from the University of Michigan

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Dr. Derek Nagle

Dr. Derek Nagle is married with two children. He is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys hunting, running, scuba diving, skiing, and many other hobbies.  He is a commercial pilot and donates time to Wings of Mercy, which provides free air transportation to patients who need treatment at distant medical facilities.


  • Board Certifications: American Board of Surgery
  • Residency: Grand Rapids Medical Education and Research Center – MSU
  • Medical School: University of North Dakota School of Medicine
  • Undergraduate: BS from North Dakota State University

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Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital in Manistique, Mich. has two state-of-the-art operating suites where all bariatric services and surgeries are performed. Our staff and our facilities promise to provide a top-notch patient experience before, during, and after your bariatric surgery.

Grand Health Partners offers a patient portal where you can view your patient information.

If you have further questions about Grand Health Partners’ patient portal, you can contact them here.

For scheduling or rescheduling your appointment, you can contact Grand Health Partners on their updated numbers as listed here.

After surgery has been scheduled through Grand Health Partners, SCMH pre-procedure planning team (or the like) will contact you prior to your surgery to discuss further details. If you have any questions about this, please contact us.

If you have any preoperative or postoperative medical concerns or questions, you can contact Grand Health Partners on their updated numbers as listed here.

However, if concerns arise during after-hours, contact us and our answering service can connect you with an on-call Physician Assistant.



Judith Gonzalez

Judith Gonzalez*

I originally started weight loss surgery in Arkansas with a lap ban but did not have success. With the removal of the ban a Deudenal Switch with Sleeve was performed. I would not have chosen to do such a drastic surgery but the ban had eroded my stomach and the doctor had to choose that for me once he was in there removing the ban. Anyways, I was healthy and losing but eventually hit a plateau.

When I moved to Michigan. Dr. Kemmeter looked at my records and found that my sleeve was actually in the shape of a P, allowing for more food to be eaten at the top portion of the stomach. I have had complications along the way (in Arkansas) and this was how at the time of removing the ban they were able to shape my stomach. Dr. Kemmeter thought enough time had gone by that he could correct it to a sleeve because the original scar tissue was probably softer by now. He did a phenomenal job. The surgeries I had in Arkansas had some complications but I had none with Dr Kemmeter.

My recovery was so smooth and everyone at Grand Health has been so supportive and I mean EVERYONE!. Recovery was faster than I expected and weight began falling off again. I have now lost a total of 125lbs and have about 80 more to go. The biggest problem for me with losing has been a psychological one. Weight loss surgery is not a miracle cure but with this particular surgery, I am not gaining weight back but if I am not diligent weight loss stops. I am at that point where exercise and diligence are important. It is especially important with any of the surgeries to follow the rules and get the support you need to fight the thoughts and habits that lead to overeating. I love who I have become through this journey and look forward to completing it. I wish Grand Health Partners had been in Arkansas when I started this journey. There is nothing even close to it there. This place is fantastic!

*Weight loss results may vary based on the individual.

Judith Gonzalez*



Just over a year ago I began a journey that would change my life in every way, and in all reality, it saved my life. I had a surgical procedure known as a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy. I chose a path that most would consider drastic, but after numerous consultations with my primary care doctor, surgeons, behavioral therapists, dieticians and exercise physiologists, we decided as a team that this was the right path for me, and I have no regrets. Without his vital support network, this would have been impossible for me so I want to express my gratitude to GHP for sharing their knowledge and providing support and encouragement over this past year.

Since I started this journey I have lost almost 240lbs! This surpasses the initial predictions made by my team and certainly exceeds anything I imagined for myself. I still have a goal weight I would like to hit, but that will happen in due course. I’m more focused on living a healthier life than I am losing weight so even if I stop where I am I’ve accomplished something that I never imagined would be possible when I started.

For the longest time, I felt bad sharing my story. If anyone commented on my progress or inquired about what I was doing to lose weight, I would answer honestly and then I would almost feel ashamed because I hadn’t been able to lose weight on my own. Somehow I felt like I had cheated because I was finally having success. But now that I’m a year into it and I know what it takes to lose that amount of weight, maintain it and lead a healthier lifestyle, I don’t feel like I cheated at all because the surgery is only a small part of the equation in the grand scheme. The truth is that surgery might make your stomach smaller, but it doesn’t fix behavior. It doesn’t create new relationships with food and exercise, and it doesn’t make social situations easier; in fact, it makes them harder, and anyone who thinks these things magically take care of themselves is grossly under-informed. I went into this with both eyes open so I knew exactly what I was getting into when I flipped the switch, and the reality is that every day is a new day full of new challenges and choices to make and it takes an arsenal of tools to get you through each day. I had to be willing to make permanent changes to my life because this isn’t a temporary program and old habits live just around the corner.

Now that I’m just over a year into this journey, if people ask me what the “secret” is or what I’m doing I tell them the truth; that I’m doing what anyone leading a healthy lifestyle does; making informed choices, working out regularly and not being a spectator in my own life. I did that for far too long and look where it got me. And there’s the secret… The secret is that surgery isn’t the secret. It’s a tool and nothing more. It’s a very powerful tool if used correctly, but consistency, education, presence, determination, loving yourself, showing up in your own life and choosing differently than you normally would is the secret, and those are all more powerful than any surgery and that’s been my greatest lesson.

We all have our demons in life and they may take form in many ways. Mine happens to be more visible than what others may struggle with, but everyone has something. We do the best we can with what we know at the time and I learn something new every day and I hope to for the rest of my life. A very wise person once told me that there are at least 5 different ways to do anything. I chose the way that worked best for me. If I learned anything through this process, it’s that short-term success is easy. Doing anything that requires permanent change is where the challenge is for most of us, myself included, but I’m off to a good start and I’m armed with determination and knowledge that I didn’t have in the past. I’m looking forward to the journey. It took me 42 years to grasp these concepts, but thankfully I finally did. I’ve won a couple of big battles for sure, but ultimately, I’m focused on the war.

*Weight loss results may vary based on the individual.


Theresa Buist

Theresa Buist*

I am a mom of 3 young girls and I wanted to be active and enjoy my time with them. But my weight made it increasingly hard to keep up. I had the vertical sleeve surgery in February 2015 and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I’ve lost 200 lbs from my highest weight and I’ve gained a whole new lifestyle. The whole family is more active and healthier.

*Weight loss results may vary based on the individual.

Theresa Buist*


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Read what clients have to say about Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital

Everyone in the ambulatory care/outpatient surgery were great!! They all made me feel very comfortable and did a great job!!! thank you to the whole outpatient staff and Doctor Rayner..I would recommend Schoolcraft or patient to anyone in need of surgery

Reviewer: Jeremy Sitkoski

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5 out of 5 stars

The care that was provided by The nurses (Cindy, Felicia Ruth) and staff was exceptional. The entire staff was very friendly and made you feel welcome. We received a call from Felicia the next day to check on my husband to check his pain level and do a follow up. The surgery area from check in to check out was well organized, clean, and up to date. Thank you to all of you for what you do so well and everything beyond your normal duties.

Reviewer: Maureen DesChamps

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5 out of 5 stars

Nelson GonzalezNelson Gonzalez ★★★★★ Very professional and helpful and the nurses were greatLynn NortonLynn Norton ★★★★★ I love having a hospital in Schoolcraft Co.We are so lucky.I appreciate the passing of the ambulance millagemillageMindy AspMindy Asp ★★★★★ Theresa EkdahlTheresa Ekdahl ★★★★★ GreatRoxanna LivermoreRoxanna Livermore ★★★★★ Wonderful very understandingAngel BernardAngel Bernard ★★★★★ Superior quality treatment by a compassionate professional. All our questions were answered. My husband was anxious about having his peg tube removed and the doctor and his staff put us immediately at ease.Melissa CarlsonMelissa Carlson ★★★★★ Dr.Niemela was great. He communicated well, answered all questions and was very personable. He seems intelligent, organized, and an expert in his field. He made me feel confident in his skills.Tanya PetersTanya Peters ★★★★★ Excellent bedside manners. Very efficient staff and no delays for my appointment time.Darrin RanguetteDarrin Ranguette ★★★★★ I received excellent care. I was extremely comfortable, I didn’t feel nervous at all. All the nurses and everyone were so good. I highly recommend Dr. Bambach for any procedure!Denver McBurneyDenver McBurney ★★★★★ I went to Dr Randall in April to have significant rotator cuff damage repaired on my left shoulder. I recently had my 6 month follow-up appiontment and I couldn’t be more pleased with my outcome. All the Physical Therapy staff were great as well. Top notch service from Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital.Laurie SchnurerLaurie Schnurer ★★★★★ Mary ParrettMary Parrett ★★★★★ Dr. Rayner took time to hear what was going on with me. I was very pleased and satisfied with the results.Elric SlaterElric Slater ★★★★★ Jessica MartinJessica Martin ★★★★★ They took very good care of meBerthenia AllisonBerthenia Allison ★★★★★ Dr. Rayner explains everything of the procedures and results, and also what as a patient I needed to do to follow up. I never felt that he was in a hurry during my time in the room. He was warm and approachable so when I asked him questions, he continued to answer in the same manner.Diana DavisDiana Davis ★★★★★ Excellent doctor and very thorough!Autumn BaileyAutumn Bailey ★★★★★ Vi BouchardVi Bouchard ★★★★★ DrDana Vix is very caring and helpful.Felicia ReidFelicia Reid ★★★★★ Dr. Schoenow was absolutely amazing along with the nursing care I received. I am so grateful to have these caring and compassionate professionals in our community. Thank you for providing me with top notch care and getting me the help I needed so quickly. Ed Unger was also amazing on my ambulance trip to escanaba. He talked to me the whole way and made sure I was comfortable. Thank you all!Scott CalkinsScott Calkins ★★★★★ Great personality. Explains your health care while conducting your appointment.js_loader