(March 21, 2012) – A new non-profit organization recently formed by two of Kentucky’s leading health-care institutions is moving forward on educational and research initiatives to reduce cancer rates and address other health challenges across the state.
UK HealthCare and Norton Healthcare officials today announced the creation of a new, not-for-profit membership corporation — composed of leading officials from both institutions — to deliver outreach, education and research opportunities across the Commonwealth of Kentucky and beyond. The Norton Healthcare-UK HealthCare Partnership for Quality will initially focus on improving population health in the areas of cancer care, stroke and heart disease.
“The establishment of this new quality partnership will focus on creating collaborations with hospitals across the state in stroke, cardiovascular and cancer care,” said Dr. Michael Karpf, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, University of Kentucky. “Our intent is to bring our combined health care expertise and resources into communities across the Commonwealth to improve health care outcomes,” said Steve Williams, President and CEO, Norton Healthcare.
During the inaugural meeting of the Norton Healthcare-UK HealthCare Partnership for Quality, the board of directors moved forward on a number of initiatives, including:
• Authorized a Memorandum of Understanding between the UK Markey Cancer Center and the Norton Cancer Institute and the Partnership for Quality to develop joint educational and outreach programs to reduce the incidence of cancer in Kentucky, to develop systems of care between Markey and Norton Cancer Institute for cancer care, and to collaborate in research efforts – specifically investigator initiated trials.
• Approved programs in research to support epidemiologic studies, biospecimen-collection and an expansion of the stroke patient registry to include other high incidence diseases in Kentucky.
• Approved a budget of $595,000 to grow outreach in stroke outreach and education, and launch new programs in acute myocardial infarction care and cancer.
In the fall of 2010, UK HealthCare and Norton Healthcare joined forces to establish a statewide system of care designed to address Kentucky’s unique health issues. As two of the leading health care providers in the Commonwealth, this partnership promises a uniquely strong platform for the sharing of best practices and resources.
Statistics on certain health indicators such as smoking rates and obesity consistently place Kentucky among the top 10 states nationwide. Consequently, related illnesses (such as cancer, stroke and heart disease) place an additional strain on the state’s health care resources. And because access to state-of-the-art care is not uniformly available, far too many residents crossed the state line to seek appropriate medical attention elsewhere.
Since entering into this agreement there have already been some significant accomplishments, including:
Transplant program: UK HealthCare physicians are servicing a transplant and specialty clinic at Norton Audubon Hospital. Louisville-based transplant candidates are now going to Lexington instead of leaving the state for care.
Obstetrics: One-quarter of Kentucky’s obstetricians have either stopped practicing or left the state since 2001, leaving as many as 71 of Kentucky’s 120 counties without a resource for obstetrical care. UK’s senior obstetrics residents are now participating in clinical rotations at Norton Hospital in an effort to increase the number of obstetricians statewide.
Pharmacy education: Since 2006, the UK College of Pharmacy and Norton Healthcare have partnered to provide a Clinical Education Center on Norton Healthcare’s downtown campus, which offers an opportunity for 25 fourth-year UK pharmacy students to complete their final year of pharmacy education in Louisville.
Cancer care: A joint Hematologic Malignancy Tumor Board provides a new forum for weekly video conference meetings between Norton Healthcare and UK HealthCare physicians to discuss patients with new leukemias, lymphomas and multiple myeloma. During these meetings physicians develop treatment plans and coordinate patient care. In addition, a team has been established at Norton Healthcare to assist with the planning and follow-up of patients needing bone marrow transplantation/stem cell therapy at UK HealthCare.
A combined Lung Cancer Screening Program is also underway. Recent studies have shown improved outcomes by performing CT scans on patients at high risk for lung cancer. The program, now in place at Norton Healthcare, ensures adherence to high standards and offers opportunities for research.