Cardiology Practice Groups Partner with MaineHealth
(Portland, ME) - January 6, 2010 - The cardiologists of Maine Cardiology Associates and Cardiovascular Consultants of Maine plan to join MaineHealth and enter into an employment arrangement with the system. Cardiovascular Consultants of Maine currently has 19 practicing specialists and Maine Cardiology Associates has 21.
Cardiovascular Consultants of Maine and Maine Cardiology Associates have been very successful in providing the best cardiovascular care in our region. They have worked closely with Maine Medical Center and other regional hospitals and practices to build a coordinated network of care that's nationally recognized. As a result, Maine Medical Center has consistently ranked in the top 100 cardiac programs in the United States.
The pace of change in healthcare delivery, especially in cardiac care, is partial impetus for these organizations to adapt to new realities.
"This integration arrangement benefits the communities we serve in many ways," stated Bill Caron, president of MaineHealth. "It will help ensure the continued delivery of high-quality healthcare to our region and will lessen the burdens these cardiologists are facing today."
Bill Dietz, M.D., president of Cardiovascular Consultants of Maine said, "In order to maintain and improve upon an existing high level of care, these practices must shift to a regional and integrated system of cardiovascular care. A more integrated cardiac care system will be better able to support local care at local hospitals which is effectively coordinated with more complex and acute tertiary care."
Karl Sze, M.D., president of Maine Cardiology Associates, agreed and added, "This integration is about aligning the talents and efforts of cardiologists - along with MaineHealth - to take a nationally ranked cardiovascular program at Maine Medical Center to an even higher level. Together, it will be easier to foster a broader regional delivery of care."
"This is good news for our patients and for Maine Medical Center," stated Rich Petersen, president of Maine Medical Center. "This arrangement will provide the resources necessary to improve the quality of services available to the people of southern, central and western Maine - helping Maine Medical Center remain a nationally recognized cardiac care program. And, it will allow a more coordinated, robust teaching and research function - two very important components of our three-part mission."
The benefits of the arrangement are numerous. It will secure delivery of high- quality heart care to the people of southern, central and western Maine, while helping Maine Medical Center remain a nationally recognized cardiac care program. It will provide access to these services for all, regardless of ability to pay. This arrangement will help further foster delivery of heart care services throughout the region. It will make available the resources needed to improve the quality and availability of cardiac services. This action will help facilitate the retention of the existing staff and physicians and help recruit new physicians to our communities during a period of predicted physician shortage. And lastly, this action will provide a platform for the development of improved systems of care with a focus on health promotion and disease prevention.
Practicing medicine and providing specialized treatment is more challenging today than ever before. The pressures that practice groups face have been slowly and steadily increasing in intensity. Increasing costs are outpacing flat or reduced reimbursements and are causing doctors throughout the country, and here in Maine, to look to others with which to partner. Hospitals, particularly in the less populated areas of our country, are seeking to stabilize and secure physician presence in their communities in the face of predicted physician shortages. Integration arrangements offer some stability and the resources necessary to meet the challenges that physician practices face today, while continuing to provide the level of care that our communities need and deserve.
Together, an integrated cardiovascular system will be better able to respond to the demand to find more cost efficient ways of caring for cardiac patients through seamless systems of care - based on quality outcomes and the adoption of best practices - within the financial realities of our state. Integration is expected to reduce duplicative efforts in infrastructure.
MaineHealth will seek approval of this action from the State of Maine's Department of Health and Human Services in a proceeding in which the Office of the Attorney General will be closely involved. An approval may come by spring of 2010.
MaineHealth is a not-for-profit family of leading high-quality providers and other healthcare organizations working together so their communities are the healthiest in America. Ranked among the nation's top 100 integrated healthcare delivery networks, MaineHealth's member organizations include Maine Medical Center, Miles Memorial Hospital, St. Andrews Hospital & Healthcare Center, Southern Maine Medical Center, Stephens Memorial Hospital, Waldo County General Hospital, Spring Harbor Hospital, HomeHealth Visiting Nurses, Maine Physician Hospital Organization, NorDx and Synernet. Affiliates of MaineHealth include MaineGeneral Medical Center, Mid Coast Hospital, St. Mary's Regional Medical Center and Penobscot Bay Medical Center.
Mark A. Harris