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St. Joseph’s And Phoenix Children’s Announce A Strategic Alliance - AZ Business Magazine June 2010

St. Joseph’s And Phoenix Children’s Announce A Strategic Alliance

Two major forces in the Valley’s health care industry are joining together to ensure the future of quality pediatric care in Arizona. St Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and Phoenix Children’s Hospital are in the process of negotiating a strategic alliance that will make Arizona a medical destination for young patients with complex and acute health care needs.

“Phoenix is the fifth-largest city in the country and it deserves to have a children’s hospital that is top tier in the country with the same breadth of programs, depth of resources and reputational scores for quality as children’s hospitals in other major markets,” says Robert Meyer, president and CEO of Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH).

Under the proposed alliance, St. Joseph’s will transfer a substantial portion of its pediatric service line to PCH. The collaboration will result in a full-service pediatric hospital, bringing together the best both hospitals have to offer. If an alliance is reached, much of the two hospitals’ pediatric medical staff, nurses and other staff will be united by mid-2011. At that time, the construction on PCH’s new 11-story hospital tower is expected to be complete, making Phoenix home to the second largest children’s hospital in the nation.

Under a current, non-binding memorandum of understanding, St. Joseph’s would continue to operate its neonatal intensive care unit and treat pediatric patients in its trauma unit, as well as patients age 15 and older. In addition, St. Joseph’s would be a minority member of Phoenix Children’s, with limited representation on PCH’s board of directors.

“When we brought our strengths to the table we became a tremendous force in the care of kids in this country,” says Linda Hunt, service area president of Catholic Healthcare West Arizona and president of St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center. “We have leaders in pediatric care, advocacy and research that we can bring together to make this incredible force and improve kids’ care in the Southwest.”

Along with creating a powerhouse pediatric hospital, the shifting of services will enable St. Joseph’s to fulfill its strategic plan to become a destination hospital for patients from across the nation and around the world. To that end, Hunt says St. Joseph’s is expanding specialty programs such as neurosurgery, neurology, cardiology and pulmonology.

The two entities already have collaborated on specific programs, including physician cross-coverage for the Children’s Heart Center and a National Institute of Health grant that’s part of PCH’s Heart Center, housed at the Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s. In spite of the various joint programs, no large-scale alliance had ever been attempted. PCH initially approached St. Joseph’s about a wider-ranging alliance, and the timing proved to be just right. Due to state budget issues, capacity constraints St. Joseph’s is facing, and the expansion already underway at PCH, the collaboration seemed like the natural progression.

“When I approached Linda Hunt in 2008 about revisiting a formal collaboration, we agreed to discard the baggage of failed collaborations of the past and brought fresh thinking to the discussion,” Meyer says. “What we found is that we are more alike than different. We share a common vision and very similar values. We are equally committed to excellent medical care, (and) both need to grow.”

The challenges facing these two health care leaders are daunting. Phoenix is one of the fastest-growing regions in the nation, and medical centers and hospitals must be prepared to face a large influx of young patients in the future. However, with both noted hospitals banding together, incredible progress can be made.

“By combining our pediatric programs, we can achieve a level that would be on par with the leading children’s hospitals in the country more quickly and efficiently than doing so alone,” Meyer says.

Among other things, the alliance will improve access to higher quality pediatric health care services in a cost-effective manner, enhance recruitment and resources for services and programs, accelerate the development of research programs, maintain and improve medical services for the under-served and more, Meyer adds.

The process of finalizing the proposed alliance is ongoing. At this time, presentations outlining the plans for the alliance have been made to physicians and staff at both hospitals. In addition, feedback programs have been created to field any questions or concerns employees may have. The process of assembling work groups with representatives from both hospitals participating in the integration plans also has begun.

“We believe this strategic alliance with CHW/St. Joseph’s will enable us to achieve our bold vision to be recognized as a national leader in pediatric health care,” Meyer says. “This community benefits from the strength of two of the leading providers of children’s medical care, because we’re better together than alone.”

www.phoenixchildrens.com | www.stjosephs-phx.org

Arizona Business Magazine June 2010

Surgeons working on a Haitian earthquake victim

Arizona Medical Centers Provide Opportunities For Doctors To Help In The Wake Of Haiti’s Disaster

When a massive earthquake struck Haiti on Jan. 12, the video images of the horrifying destruction moved millions around the world to tears. Here in the Valley, the news also moved many physicians to take action and head to Haiti. Four of those doctors making the journey were David Beyda, Grant Padley, Ara Feinstein and Jonathan Hodgson.

When each of these doctors felt the desire to travel to Haiti and help, the first thing they had to figure out was which group to travel and work with. For Beyda and Feinstein, the decision was easy. Beyda, a clinical care physician at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, also is medical director for Mission of Mercy, a nonprofit group that helps provide needy children in 22 countries, including Haiti, with physical and spiritual necessities. Beyda himself makes six-to-eight trips per year, and had just been to Haiti in November.

“When I heard about the earthquake, I assembled a team and we were there within four days,” he says.

Beyda and his team packed all of their own supplies, chartered a jet out of Miami with another organization and spent a week in the middle of Port-au-Prince working on trauma rescue and intervention. In that time, he estimates they helped more than 750 people.

Feinstein, who works in trauma surgery and critical care at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix, traveled to Haiti with the International Medical Surgical Response Team (IMSuRT), a group he’s been a member of for seven years. According to Feinstein, IMSuRT is the only federal disaster team with surgical capabilities. This was Feinstein’s first international deployment with the group, but he was well prepared.

“The team has several drills every year where we are required to set up the whole tent system and go through drills with the equipment,” he says. “We have to take a lot of courses and continue our education online.”

The IMSuRT team “showed up in Haiti as a full hospital,” Feinstein adds. Team members brought their own anesthesiologists, critical care nurses, equipment, food, water supply and all other necessities.

Hodgson, a neurologist at Gilbert Neurology, traveled to Haiti with a group from his church, which had done mission work in the Dominican Republic.

For Padley, an orthopedic surgeon with his own practice who also works at Banner Estrella Medical Center in Phoenix, the decision on which group to work with was not as obvious. He ended up joining a team from Orlando, Fla., that had a specific need for his specialty.

“Once I saw (the disaster) unfolding, there was a big pull on my heart to go down there,” he says. “There was an urgent need, they were in need of someone with my specialty, I volunteered and it just came together.”

Unlike the others, this was Padley’s first mission, but it was something he had always wanted to do.

“Some people in my group had gone on missions before, but they all said this wasn’t like any mission they had been on,” he adds.

Padley spent his time performing orthopedic surgery at Haiti Adventist Hospital, where he dealt with a lack of air conditioning and swarms of flies. The resilience of his patients earned his admiration.

“They still had hope,” he says. “They had gratitude for us being there. They put trust in us.”

Beyda notes that the most challenging parts of emergency relief work are the upsetting psychological effects and emotions for all involved.

“It’s a horrific place to be,” he says. “You go down there with an open mind knowing you’re going to see horrific things.”

Hodgson says it was sometimes hard to comprehend “the suffering and devastation,” but adds that he also witnessed miracles.

“Over that week I was there, my (young) patients started to become children again,” he says. “It was really neat to see that change.”

For Feinstein, the challenges were more practical.

“It is a huge transition from doing surgery here, where I have everything available to me at all times, to in an environment where the things I need to care for patients may not be readily available,” he says. “It required some improvisation. Some things were repurposed.

“Now when I have an obstacle, I realize it’s OK. We can do all right without that one special piece of equipment or high-tech stuff.”

Despite their considerable skills and talents, the devastation in Haiti left all four doctors humbled.

“It’s not about us,” Beyda says. “It’s about what we offer others, as servants to those who are seeking help. We do the best we can. It’s not about being a hero, it’s about being a servant and doing what you can do.”

Cancer research and treatment are coming of age in Arizona

Cancer Research And Treatment Are Coming Of Age In Arizona

The Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson is one of two NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in Arizona. Photo: The Arizona Health Sciences Center at the University of Arizona in Tucson

Cancer Conquerors:

There was a time when a diagnosis of cancer almost always meant death. But advances in cancer research and treatment have greatly improved cancer patients’ chances of survival. Throughout the Valley and Arizona, cancer centers touting new technologies and treatments are helping the state become one of the nation’s leaders in the fight against the disease.

“With these various models … it is raising the quality of cancer treatment for everybody in the Valley (and state)” says Dr. Michael Etzl Jr., director of the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and co-director of the neuro-oncology program at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Comprehensive Care Centers
Since 1976, the Arizona Cancer Center at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson has been a pioneer in the fight against cancer. Designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as one of just two Comprehensive Cancer Centers in Arizona, the facility serves the entire state.

“Because of our Comprehensive Cancer Center status, our emphasis on research and our role as part of an academic medical center, we can offer our patients the opportunity to be part of clinical trials, to be treated with newly developed drugs specifically for their particular disease,” says Dr. David S. Alberts, director of the Arizona Cancer Center.

The only other NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in Arizona is the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Scottsdale.

“Mayo’s unique approach to health care is a team approach, with many health care providers working to provide comprehensive diagnosis and treatment in more than 65 adult medical and surgical specialties,” says Dr. Rafael Fonseca, deputy director of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and site director in Arizona.

Clinical Trials and Research
Research and clinical trials are the critical basis for innovations in cancer treatment. Arizona is able to position itself as a leader in cancer treatment because of the research and clinical trials its hospitals and centers host.

“It is a documented fact that the best cancer care can only occur at centers where clinical trials are being conducted,” Fonseca says.

The Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson has an annual research budget of more than $78 million, operates 60 research labs and enrolls more than 1,700 participants in clinical trials each year.

In the Valley, Scottsdale Healthcare also offers cancer patients cutting edge clinical trials by being a clinical research site for the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). Through a strategic alliance between Scottsdale Healthcare and TGen, eligible patients can take part in phase I or phase II studies at TGen’s Clinical Research Services clinic, located within the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center.

Since 2005, more than 60 phase I (first-in-human) cancer trials have been conducted through TGen Clinical Research Services at Scottsdale Healthcare. Approximately 250-300 new patients participate in other phase I trials every year through the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center.

In a field vastly different from that of adult cancer, Phoenix Children’s is the only hospital in the state to offer pediatric phase I, phase II and phase III trials.

“In pediatric oncology, without the clinical research component of it you really don’t provide cutting-edge treatment,” Etzl says.

Approximately 60 to 70 percent of cancer patients at Phoenix Children’s are on clinical trials.

Pioneering Programs
Along with its research and clinical trials, Phoenix Children’s Hospital prides itself on having a “strong, family-centered, comprehensive program” for young cancer patients, Etzl says.

One of the hospital’s numerous programs includes Child Life, which works to ease a child’s pain and worry about being in a hospital. Through the program, procedures are explained to children as part of an overall effort to make a young cancer patient’s life as normal as possible.

The cancer center at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Downtown Phoenix hosts programs ranging from nutritional support to quality-of-life care that focus on a blend of medical, holistic and emotional support systems.

Meanwhile, an initiative at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center that is open to all cancer patients — regardless of where they’re receiving treatment — is the cancer care coordinator program. It’s comprised of experienced oncology nurses who act as personal advocates for cancer patients by answering questions, clarifying procedures and more.

Collaboration and Partnerships
Dr. Mark A. Slater, vice president of research for Scottsdale Healthcare and the Scottsdale Clinical Research Institute at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center, says that with so much cancer treatment and research taking place in the Valley and state, it’s important to “work together to fight cancer and not duplicate each other (and) instead complement each other.”

The Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center continues to expand its alliance with TGen. The center recently announced it will be one of three clinical research sites in the U.S. to participate in a three-year investigation into new ways to treat pancreatic cancer.

Since 2002, the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and Phoenix Children’s have worked together on the Valley’s first pediatric blood-and-marrow transplant program.

“Prior to 2002, if a (Phoenix Children’s) patient needed a transplant, the patient and his or her family had to leave the Phoenix area, often for months at a time, to seek care,” Fonseca of Mayo says.

Today, the two institutions have successfully forged a strong relationship that helps patients young and old. “The program has grown exponentially,” Fonseca says. “This year we will perform approximately 120 transplants.”

The Future
As the next phase of cancer care makes its way to the state, one new option for patients is the Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Western Regional Medical Center in Goodyear, which opened in December 2008. Cancer Treatment Centers of America has other locations in Chicago, Philadelphia and Tulsa, Okla.

The center in Phoenix is the first in the country to be 100-percent digital, with a fully electronic health record system designed specifically to support Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s unique model of care.

“The (electronic health record system) is one part of our comprehensive IT platforms designed to maximize patient care. Cancer patients will benefit from greater efficiency created by real-time access to patient data and more,” says David Veillette, president and CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Western Regional Medical Center.

Another option coming online in a few years will be the M.D. Anderson Banner Cancer Center on the campus of Banner Gateway Medical Center in the East Valley. The recently announced collaboration between the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center is Banner’s largest ever, with a scheduled opening of 2011.

“Cancer treatment will be needed more, naturally, as a result of more people moving into the Valley and the state,” says Bill Byron, a spokesperson for Banner Health. “The M. D. Anderson Banner Cancer Center will be a prominent institution that many will choose.”

Along with new technology, research and treatments, each cancer center in the state offers patients perhaps the most potent medicine of all — hope.

“We foresee a future where cancer will be like infectious diseases — most of the time curable,” Fonseca says.

www.azcc.arizona.edu | www.mayoclinic.org/scottsdale | www.cancercenter.com | www.phoenixchildrens.com | www.stjosephs-phx.org | www.shc.org | www.mdanderson.org | www.bannerhealth.com