Cardiovascular Service Line Joint Venture: Eight-Month Update on Strategic Areas of Focus

Premier Pulse     March 2024

By Deb Kiser, system vice president of operations, cardiovascular service line, Premier Health; and Lyndsey Pittman, director of service line business development strategy, Premier Health

It has been almost eight months since Premier Health announced its cardiovascular service line joint venture with Christ Hospital Health Network. Below is an update highlighting a few successes in each of the initial strategic areas of focus, including cardiothoracic surgery, advanced heart failure, structural heart, and cardiovascular transfers.

The team has focused on building a foundation for integration and is proud of the collaboration and team culture across the joint venture at all levels. Physicians, APPs, operational leaders, IT, marketing, supply chain, and others are all engaged and contributing to the execution of the strategic plan. 

Cardiothoracic surgery growth at Atrium Medical Center is a top priority.  The team working on this initiative has accomplished a lot. On Monday, February 19, J. Michael Smith, MD, a renowned cardiothoracic surgeon and a local to Middletown, started seeing patients on Atrium’s campus two times a month. He is also working alongside John Miller, MD. Dr. Smith maintains a full-time practice in Cincinnati, and to achieve sustained growth, we must recruit another full-time surgeon.  With an active candidate in the pipeline, we are hopeful for a quarter-two start date. 

Advanced heart failure is a chronic disease growing in prevalence, creating a huge need for more comprehensive services. The Christ Hospital Health Network, our partner advanced heart failure program, is recognized as best in class. We will model our partner’s success and build a more robust and expanded clinic to care for these patients in the outpatient setting.  Future state will also include a dedicated rounding service.  In the spirit of collaboration, Christ physicians will see patients in our clinic weekly alongside Dr. Krishnamani, Premier’s only fellowship-trained heart failure physician and two full-time advanced practice providers.  This expanded clinic is slated to go live on April 15. A similar model will be followed at Atrium Medical Center. 

Structural heart procedures are projected to grow significantly over the next five years. To better serve our patients in the future, the team is working on operationalizing patient-centric comprehensive clinics at both Atrium Medical Center and Miami Valley Hospital. These will be a one-stop concept with care coordination and collaboration across physician specialties. P. Ganesh Muthappan, MD, will anchor Miami Valley Hospital, and Amer Y. Sayed, MD, will anchor Atrium. The tentative timeline for go-live is May 31, 2024.  

In 2023, Premier Health transferred approximately 160 patients out of our system and communities to other hospitals for cardiovascular care. The transfer team is focused on creating a seamless process for providers to move patients within the joint venture to drive down leakage to other health systems in  Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus. The Christ Hospital Health Network provides services not currently offered within Premier, and keeping our patients within our partner hospital will allow for a more unified care plan for those patients needing a higher level of care. 

Lastly, creating a system organizational structure was a big win for the service line. We are laser-focused on executing cardiovascular strategies.

Back to the March 2024 issue of Premier Pulse

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