Lexington, Ky. – UK HealthCare and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center have finalized an agreement to partner for pediatric heart care and other services. A Letter of Intent (LOI) for a partnership was announced between the two health care systems last September.
The collaboration combines the strengths of the region’s leading provider of advanced subspecialty care in UK HealthCare with one of the country’s leaders in children’s health care, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and will enable more Kentucky children to receive care closer to home.
The initial focus of the partnership will be pediatric heart care services with the goal of delivering outstanding surgical and clinical care, education and research in pediatric cardiology. In addition, the master services agreement will provide the option of extending the partnership beyond these services in the future.
As part of the agreement, a heart surgeon will be jointly recruited and have a primary appointment at Cincinnati Children’s in a ‘one program, two sites’ model; the surgeon will be based in Lexington and perform services at Kentucky Children’s Hospital.
“By partnering with Cincinnati Children’s we will be teaming-up with one of the top children’s hospitals in the country and a Top 10 pediatric heart care program,” said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. “Our goal is to keep patient care close to home when clinically appropriate with patients traveling to Cincinnati for the most complex surgical procedures but eventually having some surgical procedures, as well as post-surgical care and pediatric cardiology subspecialty care, available in Lexington.”
The first surgical procedure at UK will likely be targeted for late 2016 or early 2017. UK HealthCare will also work toward having cardiac subspecialists performing diagnostics and therapeutic interventions at Kentucky Children’s Hospital with the support of Cincinnati Children’s subspecialists when necessary.
Training, support, infrastructure development and reactivation of on-site surgery at Kentucky Children’s Hospital will be done in a manner to ensure sustained outstanding outcomes as measured by national registries and reporting mechanisms. This includes developing and implementing shared and common clinical standards for environment, design, equipment and operations. Additionally, training will be provided by Cincinnati Children’s initially and on an ongoing basis for Kentucky Children’s Hospital personnel.
“We are excited about the opportunity to work with UK HealthCare to serve pediatric cardiac patients and their families in the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Andrew Redington, executive co-director of the Heart Institute and chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at Cincinnati Children’s.
Currently the majority of Kentucky Children’s Hospital pediatric CT surgery patient families who need clinical referrals for care already are choosing Cincinnati Children’s. However, this new ‘one program, two sites’ model will provide an even more seamless process for these patients and families as well as the new patients and families needing these services each year throughout the Commonwealth.
UK HealthCare voluntarily suspended Kentucky Children’s pediatric cardiothoracic (CT) program in October 2012 and a task force charged with providing recommendations regarding the future of the program was established and convened in 2013. Initial joint negotiations with Cincinnati Children’s began in early 2015 and led to the LOI being signed in September.
“We said we would only re-open the program when we were ready to provide the best care for our patients and their families and we are confident that this collaborative arrangement meets that mark with the highest quality surgical and clinical care, education and research in pediatric cardiovascular services for patients of Kentucky and their families,” Karpf said.