Regional collaborative will standardize best practice and expand programs available in community.
BOSTON – (Aug. 1) Tufts Medical Center and Vanguard Health Systems New England have signed an affiliation agreement to enhance and expand cardiovascular services available to patients from Boston to Worcester. Together, the organizations will build new clinical programs in Worcester, Framingham and Natick and will collaborate to seek consistently high-quality care across the three-hospital collaborative.
Physicians, nurses and administrators from Tufts Medical Center, MetroWest Medical Center (Leonard Morse Hospital in Natick and Framingham Union Hospital) and Saint Vincent Hospital will lead the initiative focusing on cardiovascular care provided in the hospital as well as in outpatient settings. Leaders of this new regional cardiovascular center aim to have a significant impact on the effectiveness of cardiovascular care and to develop methods for reducing the cost of care.
“Cardiovascular disease can be among the most debilitating illnesses patients experience, and the cost of treating and managing these illnesses places enormous stress on the U.S. health care system,” said Octavio Diaz, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Vanguard New England. “Vanguard’s Massachusetts hospitals and Tufts Medical Center are well known for delivering the highest quality care in a responsible manner, and this partnership will enable us all to share more information about how best to deliver care to patients with - complex diagnoses.”
Health care quality and efficiency experts advocate for reducing variation in medical and surgical practice to make health care more efficient and improve outcomes. The Chief Nursing Officers at each organization will work together to develop and share standards for cardiology services provided in inpatient and outpatient settings. They will monitor the impact on a regional quality dashboard.
“Keeping a close eye on quality in the inpatient and procedural settings and inventing new ways to improve a patient’s care are issues that motivate nurses. We look forward to working with other nurses across this system to share ideas, to brainstorm and to improve patient care,” said Donna Gemme, RN, Chief Nursing Officer of MetroWest Medical Center.
In other elements of the program, Saint Vincent has joined a Tufts MC and MWMC initiative currently underway that addresses best practices for heart failure patients. Saint Vincent and MetroWest physicians will have the opportunity to receive training on advanced therapies in Boston. Clinical research and graduate medical education activities will be expanded within the three organizations. Specialty physicians at each hospital will be available to see patients at the other centers, in order to share areas of expertise, as appropriate for the needs of each community. When patients require certain forms of advanced care, such as cardiac transplant, Saint Vincent and MetroWest Medical Centers will use Tufts Medical Center as their preferred academic-quaternary referral partner.
Marvin Konstam, MD, Chief Physician Executive, and Kelly Dougherty, Executive Director of The CardioVascular Center at Tufts Medical Center, will lead a steering committee for the affiliation, including the organizations’ chief nursing officers, Saint Vincent’s and MWMC’s chief medical officers, cardiovascular physician leaders from each hospital, and senior business leaders from both Tufts MC and Vanguard New England. Dougherty will split her time among MWMC, Saint Vincent and Tufts MC so that she can work directly with physician, nursing and administrative leaders across all institutions.
“This corridor of care connects an entire region, more than 100 cardiovascular physicians and thousands of patients. The depth of the relationship will allow us to learn a great deal from each other and to contribute significant findings to the care of cardiovascular patients,” Konstam said. “We have the ability to make a significant difference in the lives of our patients and to improve outcomes. We aim to increase patients’ quality of life and their lifespan, while also reducing hospital readmissions. I strongly believe this is the type of initiative employers and patients are speaking of when they say they want more coordinated care that provides real value.”
All three hospitals are well-known for outstanding cardiovascular care. Tufts Medical Center has performed the most heart transplants of any hospital in New England over the past five years and has nationally recognized programs in areas such as advanced heart failure and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Saint Vincent Hospital has been named one of the Top 50 Heart Hospitals in the US by an independent health analytics company and MetroWest Medical Center provides the only angioplasty between Worcester and Boston with a door-to-balloon time that is one of the best in the state.
About Tufts Medical Center
Tufts Medical Center is an exceptional, not-for-profit, 415-bed academic medical center that is home to both a full-service hospital for adults and Tufts Medical Center. Conveniently located in downtown Boston, the Medical Center is the principal teaching hospital for Tufts University School of Medicine. Tufts Medical Center is the full-service children's hospital of Tufts Medical Center and the principal pediatric teaching hospital of Tufts University School of Medicine. Tufts Medical Center is affiliated with the New England Quality Care Alliance, a network of more than 1,800 physicians throughout Eastern Massachusetts. For more information, please visit www.tuftsmedicalcenter.org.