February 9, 2007

VUMC, Maury Regional unite in heart care

Featured Image

Eternally suave British superspy James Bond would have been proud of this year’s School of Medicine Cadaver Ball, held last weekend at the Opryland Hotel and Convention Center. The night, dubbed “Cadaver Ball 007: Vandy Royale,” featured awards and skits by first- and fourth-year medical students and some faculty members.

Here, First-year VUSM students kicked up their heels during their dance number.
(photo by Anne Rayner)

VUMC, Maury Regional unite in heart care

Vanderbilt University Medical Center has signed an agreement with Maury Regional Hospital (MRH) in Columbia to provide cardiovascular surgery services beginning in April. Maury Regional serves as the flagship for the Maury Regional Healthcare System.

Since 2004, Vanderbilt has provided a rotation of cardiac surgeons for the Maury Regional Heart Center, covering five weeks and 12 weekends a year.

This most recent agreement is not the first time Vanderbilt has contracted with the regional facility for medical services. Three years ago Vanderbilt, the region's only Level-1 trauma center, located one of four Life Flight air ambulance helicopters at the Maury County Airport to serve south central Tennessee. In 2006, the Medical Center opened a Neonatal Unit, staffed with Vanderbilt neonatologists and nurse practitioners, at the Columbia-based hospital.

John Byrne, M.D., chair of Cardiac Surgery at Vanderbilt, said that soon after his arrival at Vanderbilt in 2004, Maury Regional asked if his team would be interested in providing coverage for their sole cardiovascular surgeon. Vanderbilt was chosen for this collaborative effort.

“During this period, we have gotten to know the staff, the cardiologists, the patients and the community,” said Byrne. “We have developed a certain rapport with that entire team. We have a history of providing coverage there.”

In the fall, MRH officials decided it was in its best interest to affiliate with a major medical center that offered cardiovascular services rather than operate an independent program. Vanderbilt was among several medical institutions interested in submitting a proposal.

After nearly three months, Vanderbilt was awarded the contract.

“We believe this agreement with Vanderbilt will expand the successful cardio-thoracic surgery program that we implemented three years ago under the direction of Dr. David Wyatt,” said Robert Otwell, Maury Regional Hospital's CEO. “With Dr. Wyatt soon leaving at the end of his contract, we felt our best option was to partner with a leading provider of state-of-the-art heart surgery. We solicited proposals, and the cardiologists on our medical staff were pleased with what Vanderbilt could bring to the program,” Otwell said.

Janice Vinson, M.D., a cardiologist on the medical staff at MRH, agreed: “Although we had the opportunity to affiliate with other fine surgical programs, we have been impressed with the growth in cardiovascular surgery that Vanderbilt has experienced in recent years. Their pledge to help us serve our patients close to home — keeping the Maury program strong with our own cardiovascular surgeon on the medical staff — is important to us.

“As advanced technologies develop, Vanderbilt's position as a leading provider of innovative cardiovascular care gives our patients the best of both worlds within their own community,” she added.

The surgeon who will be chosen to run the program at Maury Regional will hold a faculty position at Vanderbilt and be fully integrated into the Vanderbilt system, said C. Wright Pinson, M.D., M.B.A., associate vice chancellor for Clinical Affairs and chief medical officer at Vanderbilt.

“We have been in discussion with Maury Regional for several months,” confirmed Jeff Kaplan, associate vice chancellor for Health Affairs. “This is one step, a rather significant step, in developing a series of services that are of mutual benefit to both hospitals. This service will assist the residents who seek care at Maury Regional, which is one of our missions; it will also help Vanderbilt in terms of developing our services within the state and beyond.

“We have a proven track record with this community and hospital.”

More than 250,000 residents in the south central quadrant of the state use the Maury Regional Healthcare System, which includes the following facilities: Marshall Medical Center in Lewisburg, Wayne Medical Center in Waynesboro and Lewis Ambulatory Care Center in Hohenwald. Maury Regional is a 275-bed hospital.

"We are both proud and pleased to partner with Maury Regional Hospital and its medical staff in providing cardiovascular care to the patients they serve,” said Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs at Vanderbilt.

“The future of Vanderbilt University Medical Center lies in developing relationships with strong partners in our region, and Maury Regional Hospital is an outstanding partner.”

The past three years have seen tremendous growth at the Vanderbilt Heart & Vascular Institute. The expansion has not only been at the Medical Center, but the impact has been felt throughout the region with a goal of providing the very best care to patients through clinical expertise, the most advanced diagnostic resources and unparalleled research support.