OHSU Doernbecher and PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center Partner to Bring Nationally Ranked Neonatal Care to Southwest Washington's Sickest Infants

The Lund Report
January 26, 2012 -- PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center (PHSW) and OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital have joined forces to ensure critically ill newborns and infants in the region receive the highest quality, most advanced medical treatment close to home. 

Beginning March 1, 2012, board-certified neonatologists from OHSU Doernbecher's nationally ranked Neonatal Care Center will staff PHSW's Holtzman Twins Neonatal Intensive Care Unit 24/7 under the leadership of Robert Schelonka, M.D., head of the Division of Neonatology at OHSU Doernbecher and an associate professor of pediatrics (neonatology) in the OHSU School of Medicine.

"The OHSU Doernbecher neonatal group is excited to expand our collaborations with PeaceHealth — a longtime partner in the provision of leading-edge care for mothers and babies — to address a need for acute neonatology care at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center," said Schelonka. "Building on the existing efforts of their neonatal team, we will enhance and broaden clinical services and capabilities to provide comprehensive, quality, safe, timely and family-centered neonatal care for families in their home community whenever possible."

"By expanding our longtime relationship with OHSU and Doernbecher to include neonatology services, we solidify our commitment to the highest possible quality of care for newborns at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. Through our coordinated efforts, more fragile babies can stay in their own community for care, reducing disruptions and minimizing stress on local families. Our expert clinical team at PeaceHealth Southwest's Holtzman Twins Neonatal Intensive Care Unit are eager to align our practices and strong quality focus with this nationally recognized care team," said Rainy Atkins, chief operating officer/administrator, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.

In addition to enhancing access to highly specialized neonatal services for families close to home, OHSU Doernbecher and PHSW also will:

  • Share resources to enhance quality and reduce costs, a priority in an era of health reform.

  • Cross-train medical professionals, capitalizing on each other's strengths and unique expertise.

  • Broaden access to unique clinical trials, which provide medical treatments and therapies often not available anywhere else in the region.

"This collaboration will allow OHSU and PeaceHealth Southwest to work more closely to enhance and coordinate care for our most vulnerable newborns. Our goal is to allow as many babies as possible to receive care close to home and family, and when that is not possible, to have seamless care coordination between our two organizations to most effectively and compassionately care for these patients," said Mark O'Hollaren, M.D., vice president for strategic outreach at OHSU and professor of medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine. "We will work together to care for these newborns, and will also share expertise, education, and measurement of outcomes. Our goal is to provide care that ranks among the best in the nation."

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Comments

Last week, Dr. Charles Kilo wrote an article clearly sdescribing how duplication of services increase health care costs. It would seem that the OHSU strategic plan does not share this same view. There are already multiple NICU care centers in Vancouver and Portland. OHSU should be transparent in its description of "National Ranked", and show its outcomes compared to the other NICU programs in the metro area. We have to start living the realization that not every hospital should have every service.

Actually, PHSW already has had a NICU for years now. OHSU/Doernbecher is helping staff their NICU. Doernbecher is nationally ranked by US News and World Report as one of the top 50 hospitals for neonatal care.