Hospitals to form cardiothoracic partnership

Columbia St. Mary’s and ProHealth Care announced Tuesday that they will jointly develop a new cardiothoracic surgery program to better serve patients of both organizations, reduce duplication and deliver greater value in health care.


“We see this as a tremendous opportunity to take our surgical programs to a new level,” said Mark Taylor, chief executive officer of Milwaukee-based Columbia St. Mary’s.
Susan Edwards, chief executive officer of Waukesha-based ProHealth Care, said, “Working together, we will have the resources and scale needed to create a top-tier cardiothoracic surgery program.”
Cardiothoracic surgeries involve the heart and chest. A cardiothoracic surgeon operates on the heart, large blood vessels, areas of the chest and in some cases the lungs, performing such surgeries as heart transplants and bypass surgeries.
The two organizations, in collaboration with their cardiologists, are working with consultants from PwC to recruit a team of heart surgeons who can meet the highest standards for quality and service. Top heart programs from across the country are being invited to submit proposals.  
The physicians who ultimately are chosen will perform heart surgeries and provide related services at the ProHealth and Columbia St. Mary’s hospitals. They will work with cardiologists and others on the existing medical staffs at the hospitals. 
Columbia St. Mary’s and ProHealth Care do a combined total of about 850 open heart and thoracic surgeries per year. ProHealth Care performs the surgeries at Waukesha Memorial Hospital. The Columbia St. Mary’s surgeries are performed at both its hospitals on Milwaukee’s east side and in Mequon.
“Both of our organizations have extensive expertise when it comes to advanced surgical services,” Taylor said.  “One of the things that excites us about this partnership is that it will allow us to share best practices and learn from each other. The result will be superior outcomes for our patients.”
“The challenges we face in health care today require that we think creatively and work cooperatively,” Edwards said. “When we consider the imperatives to improve quality, control costs and deliver real value, our partnership with Columbia St. Mary’s just makes sense.”

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