by James C. Sherlock
Now for a kind word for my undergraduate alma mater, the University of Virginia.
In a press release yesterday, Lynchburg-based Centra and UVA Health announced a strategic clinical affiliation.
From what we know from the announcement, that is exactly the kind of healthcare affiliation Virginians need.
Through this new affiliation, the two independent health systems will further their collaboration in these new areas:
- Malignant hematology (disorders of blood cells): UVA Health malignant hematology experts will hold regular clinics at Centra’s Alan B. Pearson Regional Cancer Center to consult with patients and local medical oncologists. This strategic collaboration will offer UVA Health’s comprehensive expertise and services in hematologic malignancies (lymphoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma and related cancers of the blood) and access to cutting edge clinical trials of the most promising new therapeutics, accelerating the time to transplant for eligible candidates while reducing patient travel requirements by offering initial consultations and post-treatment care closer to patients’ homes.
- Kidney transplant: UVA Health transplant specialists will hold clinics in Lynchburg to evaluate patients for kidney transplants. Through these clinics a nurse navigator will be assigned to coordinate locally-provided health care services with Centra providers before transplant and to coordinate the transfer of care back to Lynchburg nephrologists after transplant. These clinics will improve organ waitlist times and provide expert care where and when patients need it.
- Recruitment of specialist physicians: UVA Health and Centra will also collaborate on the recruitment of specialist physicians in certain clinical specialties to enhance access to care for these services within the Centra service area. Physician teams from both health systems, including these specialists, will provide joint patient care conferences, share expertise, and offer some services through telemedicine.
This appears to represent a ground-breaking concept in Virginia — clinical cooperation rather than business mergers.
Also, nurse navigators, given the right authorities and properly exercising their roles, are gifts from God.
Somebody other than the business executives has clearly broken through the real glass ceiling — business executives — at both organizations. Hurray for UVa Health, Centra and their boards.
I’m going to go out on a limb and observe that similar clinical cooperation between Sentara and its much weaker provider competitors (Chesapeake Regional, Bon Secours and Riverside) in Hampton Roads is not in the cards.
Check the court dockets for the latest developments here in our port cities.