Saturday, September 24, 2011

National Consolidation of Heart Programs: A New Paradigm?

With the announcement of Cleveland Clinic offering cardiothoracic surgery services to Charlotte, North Carolina after their collaboration with Central Dupage Hospital in Illinois, a new cardiovascular surgery paradigm is taking shape:
The Novant-Cleveland Clinic affiliation is not the first such collaboration for a Charlotte-area hospital. In 2010, CaroMont Health, which operates Gaston Memorial Hospital, announced a partnership with Columbia HeartSource, part of New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. CaroMont doctors visit the N.Y. hospital, and N.Y. doctors have scrubbed in on surgeries at Gaston Memorial. Doctors confer about patient cases weekly, and CaroMont offers procedures that weren't available before.

"This is really a new paradigm in medicine," said Dr. Paul Kurlansky, a cardiac surgeon with Columbia HeartSource. It's a way for top-tier academic medical programs to share what they know with community hospitals and begin to reduce disparities in medical care across the U.S., Kurlansky said. "You will start seeing this increasingly throughout the country."
This is all about the race to tertiary care access which is increasingly being restricted. The hospital system that offers continued access to advanced therapies will hold a competetive (not to mention) financial advantage.


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