CINCINNATI—UC Health is partnering with Cardiac, Vascular and Thoracic Surgeons, Inc. (CVTS)—the Tristate’s community-based cardiac surgical practice—as an integral step toward advancing the care of patients with heart disease in the Greater Cincinnati area.
Michael Edwards, MD, surgical oncologist with UC Health and professor and chair of UC’s department of surgery, and Russ Vester, MD, UC College of Medicine alumnus, senior cardiac surgeon and chairman of the board with CVTS, crafted this partnership as a way to enhance heart care locally.
"This adds expertise and innovation to our community,” Edwards says, noting that the partnership was official on Sept. 8. "With CVTS on board with UC Health, we aim to redefine the standard for cardiac care in the region and take advantage of the quality clinical services and training programs already in place at the UC College of Medicine.
"It is a win-win situation for patients, residents and physicians involved.”
David Stern, MD, vice president for health affairs and dean of the College of Medicine, says this partnership will enhance UC’s already stellar reputation of being regional leaders of health care.
"I am truly pleased with this collaboration; it just seems like a natural fit,” Stern says. "This will bring heart care at UC and in Cincinnati to a whole to a new level. This collaboration is very much part of the model we have in mind for UC Health, in which community and university physicians work side by side to bring ‘added value’ care to the Greater Cincinnati area.”
In addition, CVTS surgeon J. Michael Smith, MD, a leading pioneer of robotic assisted cardiac surgery, has been named chief of the UC College of Medicine’s cardiac surgery division.
"I am honored to be named chief of the division and am looking forward to collaborating closely with the College of Medicine,” Smith says. "Our group is extremely excited to have this opportunity to work with the quality cardiac physicians at the University of Cincinnati.”
Smith received his medical degree at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and completed residencies at Yale-New Haven Hospital and Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati, where he will continue to serve in addition to his new role with UC.
Vester says CVTS and UC Health will work to create an economically efficient prototype for cardiac surgery in addition to helping train the next generation of surgeons and delving into research initiatives at the College of Medicine.
"Among other missions, we will standardize care and best practice, optimize service delivery and redefine performance to create quality outcomes,” he says. "This is a very unique collaboration.”
Edwards agrees, adding that this is an area of medicine locally that requires collaboration, not competition.
"Neither group wanted to compete in this market alone,” he says. "This is truly a benefit to patients who may have gone to Cleveland or Chicago to receive cardiac surgery services in the past. This opportunity will aid in the creation of a new, standardized model for cardiac care—from clinical visits to the operating table.”
Neal Weintraub, MD, director of the UC’s cardiovascular diseases division and cardiologist with UC Health, says this partnership will create a smoother, more integrated care model for patients.
"Patients will benefit from the combined surgical and medical expertise, as well as the advanced technology and support services offered at University Hospital,” he says. "This will lead to more treatment options for patients.”
Surgeons will also bring innovative procedures to University Hospital, such as minimally invasive direct coronary artery bypass grafts.
"We are achieving the highest class surgical care for our patients with benchmark performance in outcomes and cost, in addition to bringing cutting-edge surgical procedures to an already outstanding cardiac program,” says Lee Ann Liska, executive director and senior vice president of University Hospital. "This partnership has nothing but positives to add to cardiac care in Cincinnati and the Tristate.”