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News – Oct 2013

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Saint Joseph Performs First-in-state MitraClip Procedure

LEXINGTON The Saint Joseph Heart Institute, part of KentuckyOne Health, has successfully completed a new life-saving heart procedure that can present an alternative for patients who are too ill for open-heart surgery. Part of a clinical trial, it is the first time in Kentucky the minimally invasive MitraClip procedure has been completed.

The MitraClip is a small metal clip that helps patients with mitral regurgitation (MR), a condition where the heart’s mitral valve leaflets do not close tightly, causing blood to leak into the heart’s left atrium and can lead to advanced heart failure.

This new treatment expands the options for selected patients with MR, especially those who are not candidates for invasive open-heart surgery. The procedure allows doctors to use catheter-based technology to repair the mitral valve, without the need for patients to undergo cardiopulmonary bypass.

The MitraClip procedure shortens recovery time and ultimately improves quality of life for those experiencing life-altering symptoms like fatigue and shortness of breath.

With MitraClip and the recently introduced Trans Catheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure, Saint Joseph physicians like Robert Salley, MD, executive director of Cardiovascular Services, are now able to treat a number of serious heart conditions with minimally invasive methods. “This is the first time that we’ve had an ability to manage this problem for patients too ill to undergo open heart surgery,” said Salley. “In the past, the only option to help patients with congestive heart failure was to band-aid the symptoms with medication. This is a huge opportunity to increase the health and quality of life for many patients.”

During the MitraClip procedure, a physician will use traditional catheter methods to guide the clip into the left atrium. The clip is lowered and attached to the valve to repair or reduce MR. Before final placement, the clip can be moved and rotated to ensure optimal fit.

MR is the most common type of heart valve insufficiency in the United States, affecting approximately 4 million people. This condition cannot be medically treated, and previously could only be repaired with open-heart surgery on patients who were otherwise physically healthy.

Bolli wins AHA Achievement Award for Cardiovascular Research

DALLAS, TX/LOUISVILLE, KY The American Heart Association has presented its Research Achievement Award for 2013 to Roberto Bolli, MD, of the University of Louisville, “for the profound and lasting impact of his extraordinary contributions to cardiovascular research.”

“Over the past 40 years, Bolli has gained deserved recognition as a world leader in his field,” said American Heart Association president Mariell Jessup, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania in presenting the award. “He has advanced our understanding of the mechanisms responsible for injury to the heart during ischemia and reperfusion, opening the way for developing novel protective strategies in patients with ischemic heart disease.”

Bolli is professor of Medicine, Physics and Biophysics, chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and director of the Institute of Molecular Cardiology at the University of Louisville. He received the award, a citation, and $2,500 honorarium, during the opening of the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2013 at the Dallas Convention Center.

In early studies Bolli established a primary role of oxygen-free radicals in development of reversible heart dysfunction, or “myocardial stunning.” His research further delineated at the molecular level how cardiac muscle adapts to stress, Jessup said.

More recently, Bolli has emerged as a leader in regenerative cardiology, the pioneering use of patient-derived cardiac stem cells to repair heart muscle damaged during a heart attack. The Kentucky scientist currently is directing the first major study to test the potential healing effect of patients’ own stem cells.

“Seamlessly melding basic experiments with patient-oriented studies has been a hallmark of Dr. Bolli’s research,” Jessup noted. “He has made great strides in solving the mysteries of ischemic heart disease and developing effective new approaches in the attack on this worldwide problem afflicting millions.”

Jagger Named 2014 SEC Team Physician of the Year

LEXINGTON The University of Kentucky’s Dr. James Jagger has been named the 2014 Southeastern Conference Team Physician of the Year. Jagger is an assistant professor in the UK Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine and serves as the UK chief of athletic medicine and head team physician for all UK sports.

The Team Physician of the Year award is chosen by the athletic training staffs at SEC member institutions and is given annually to recognize a team physician who has contributed greatly to both his or her school’s teams and to the SEC sports community. Voting criteria includes both reliability to the physician’s athletic department and noted involvement in the field of sports medicine.

Jagger’s award this year makes back-to-back wins for UK physicians – Dr. Darren Johnson, chair of the UK Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, and head orthopaedic surgeon for UK Athletics, received the award in 2013.

UofL Physicians-Pediatrics Opens Pediatric Multi-Specialty Office in East Louisville

LOUISVILLE University of Louisville Physicians-Pediatrics has opened a pediatric multi-specialty office in Brownsboro Crossing shopping center, in Norton Medical Plaza II, across from Kosair Children’s Medical Center-Brownsboro.

The office, which was partially funded with a $325,000 WHAS Crusade for Children grant to the University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics, will house seven UofL Physician’s pediatric subspecialty practices: Acupuncture, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Ophthalmology, Neurology, Pulmonology, and Sleep Medicine.

“We opened this office to extend our reach down the I-71 corridor, making critical pediatric specialty care more easily available to children and families from Oldham, Shelby, and Carroll Counties,” said Gerard Rabalais, MD, chairman, University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics.

The 7,500-square-foot office has 17 exam rooms, two intake rooms, a lab, a procedure room, and a large waiting room with a quiet area for anxious children. There is an administrative area, as well as space where providers can access electronic medical records and teach UofL medical students and residents.

The exam rooms are intentionally larger than typical exam rooms to accommodate families who often accompany children on pediatric visits. Two exam rooms are outfitted for exclusive use by pediatric acupuncture specialists and three rooms are dedicated to pediatric ophthalmology.

“As we developed this new office space we were able to consider the unique needs of children, especially those whose condition requires them to see multiple specialists, like a child with diabetes who needs ongoing ophthalmology care,” Rabalais said. “We are grateful to the WHAS Crusade for Children for helping us create this special place for children.”

TeamHealth Acquires MESA Medical Group

KNOXVILLE, TN/LEXINGTON, KY TeamHealth Holdings Inc. (NYSE:TMH), one of the nation’s largest providers of outsourced physician staffing solutions for hospitals, announced the acquisition of the operations of Marshall Physician Services, LLC, operating as MESA Medical Group or “MESA.” Based in Lexington, Ky., MESA manages and staffs emergency medicine and hospital medicine programs for 24 facilities in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia. A physician-founded and physician-led organization, MESA is a recognized regional leader in providing emergency medicine and hospital medicine staffing services for hospitals. Through the management and staffing of 23 emergency departments and 10 hospital medicine programs, MESA cares for more than 600,000 patients annually.

“When evaluating partnership opportunities, we determined that TeamHealth is a natural fit,” said James Foster, MD, MESA co-founder and president. “TeamHealth offers extensive resources in both emergency medicine and hospital medicine management and provides unparalleled support for physicians and other clinicians. We are excited to join an organization that offers clinical and operational support with an emphasis on exceptional patient care.”

CHI Joins National Specialty Pharmacy Network – Will Open Site in Louisville

LOUISVILLE Catholic Health Initiatives has joined Fairview Health Services and Intermountain Healthcare as investors in Excelera Corp., a national specialty pharmacy network based in Minneapolis. The three health systems all have committed resources, expertise, and investment capital to support Excelera’s model of integrated care for patients who require specialty drugs.

KentuckyOne Health, part of the Catholic Health Initiatives community, will be a part of the new specialty pharmacy network with a location in Louisville at 5111 Commerce Crossing. Construction of the new pharmacy will be completed by March 1, 2014 and opened by July 1, 2014.

Excelera Corp., a network of specialty pharmacies based at health systems and academic medical centers, was formed in May 2012 to enable member organizations to gain access to limited-distribution drugs and provide continuity of care for patients with complex conditions who require specialty drugs.

“This partnership is designed to help us develop a national specialty drug network that is focused on better outcomes for our patients who so desperately need these medications,” said Kevin Lofton, president and chief executive officer of Englewood, Colo.-based CHI, one of the nation’s largest health systems. “The Excelera network gives our doctors access to a comprehensive, integrated network, including limited-distribution drugs, which enables them to manage the full spectrum of patient care.”

Specialty pharmaceuticals are expensive drugs that may require special handling and administration and are often used to treat the most ill and clinically complex patients.

“We have already been doing many of these types of pharmacy services through our own Pharmacy Plus and University of Louisville outpatient pharmacy in Louisville, said Mark Milburn, vice president, Oncology Service Line, KentuckyOne Health. “Our patients will benefit from our expansion of services and access to medications. We serve a large population of patients with cancer, transplanted organs, HIV, and other conditions that require expensive types of medications. With the specialty pharmacy as part the patient’s care team, this integration will enable ongoing optimization of therapy and prevent interruption or delay in the initiation of their needed drug therapy.

Most health plans now require patients to obtain specialty drugs from an outside specialty pharmacy that has no direct relationship with the patient. The health system does not have control as to when the patient initiates therapy and is not able to manage or monitor it. As a result, health systems and payers may incur higher medical costs, lower patient satisfaction, and suboptimal health outcomes as care plans are not fulfilled as intended.

The Excelera network will negotiate on behalf of its member organizations to remove barriers to specialty drug access and monitoring. Patients and providers of health systems in the Excelera network will benefit by working with a specialty pharmacy that is a member of their care team, can easily access specialty pharmaceuticals, and knows the patient’s care plan.

Baptist Health Lexington, Richmond & Corbin Recognized for Organ Donation Outreach

LEXINGTON Baptist Health Lexington, Richmond, and Corbin were among a select group of hospitals nationwide recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for its outreach efforts for organ donation and registration.

The hospitals conducted awareness and registry campaigns to educate staff, patients, visitors, and community members about the critical need for organ, eye, and tissue donors and, by doing so, increased the number of potential donors on the state’s donor registry. The hospitals earned points for each activity planned between September 2012 and May 2013. Baptist Health Corbin was awarded gold recognition and Baptist Health Lexington and Baptist Health Richmond were awarded silver recognition.

Hospitals were recognized through the Workplace Partnership for Life Hospital Campaign, a program launched in 2011 by HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Of the 924 hospitals and transplant centers participating in the campaign, 322 were awarded recognition.