LOUISVILLE, KY. (March 16, 2012): Norton Healthcare officials today announced new or enhanced affiliation agreements with five regional community hospitals in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.
The hospitals include:
- Breckinridge Health in Hardinsburg, Ky. (new agreement). Breckinridge Memorial Hospital, part of Breckinridge Health, is a 25-bed medical and surgical hospital serving residents in Breckinridge, Meade, Ohio, Grayson, Hancock and Hardin Counties in Kentucky.
- Carroll County Memorial Hospital in Carrollton, Ky. (enhanced agreement). Carroll County is a 25-bed critical access hospital serving residents in Carroll, Trimble, Gallatin, Owen and Henry counties in Kentucky.
- Harrison County Hospital in Corydon, Ind. (enhanced agreement). Harrison County is a 25-bed critical access hospital serving residents in Harrison and Crawford counties in Indiana and Meade County in Kentucky.
- Spring View Hospital in Lebanon, Ky. (new agreement). Spring View is a 75-bed acute care hospital serving residents in Marion, Washington, Taylor, Nelson, Green and Boyle counties in Kentucky.
- Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center in Leitchfield, Ky. (new agreement). Twin Lakes is a 75-bed regional hospital serving residents in Grayson, Breckinridge, Ohio, Butler, Edmonson, Hart and Hardin counties in Kentucky.
The new and enhanced agreements incorporate elements designed to enhance the quality of care available to patients in their home communities, but when tertiary care is needed, to make it a convenient and seamless experience for the patients and physicians to access care at Norton Healthcare. These elements include:
- Full access by community hospital medical providers and staff to the extensive training, education and management development services provided by Norton University and the Norton Healthcare Institute for Nursing. These include more than 500 free, accredited online courses in 19 distinct disciplines, including multiple clinical areas and management development. Managers and staff will also have access to Norton Healthcare management and leadership development classes, offered both in Louisville and at their respective hospitals, and will also have the opportunity to attend Norton Healthcare's management development conferences in Louisville.
- Development of new and existing clinical programs and services through extension of expertise and resources associated with Norton Healthcare's Clinical Service Lines and Centers of Excellence to help make that care more available in the communities served by each hospital. This will include the establishment of several new subspecialty clinics and clinical services, including cancer (Norton Cancer Institute), cardiovascular (Norton Heart Care and Norton Vascular Associates), maternal-fetal medicine and obstetrics (Norton Women's Care), and orthopaedics (Norton Leatherman Spine Center and Norton Orthopaedic Care).
- Better coordination of continuity of care for patients who do require specialized or tertiary care and need to seek that care outside of the communities served by each hospital. This will include resources such as enhanced use of the Norton Healthcare Access Center, which serves as a single point of resource for patients, families and physicians, to connect with physicians and services available through Norton Healthcare.
- Potential access to Norton Healthcare's new state-of-the-art electronic medical record software, called Epic.
Better position each hospital to be able to manage the inevitable but unknown changes that are rapidly coming to the health care industry under health care reform. This includes the need for community hospitals to align themselves with tertiary partners through affiliation agreements of this type.
"These agreements represent the best of both worlds for each community hospital – access to the resources of the leading health care system in Louisville, while allowing each to retain local ownership and leadership in daily operations," said Michael P. Esposito, system vice president, Business Development, and executive director, Service Line Operations for Norton Healthcare. "The agreements provide the community hospitals with enhanced access to continuing education programs, tertiary care and other medical services to support each hospital's existing programs and services."
Another significant development, according to Esposito, has been a telemedicine grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. The Norton Healthcare Foundation recently received a $250,000 USDA grant which is being combined with $120,000 in matching funds to advance a comprehensive telemedicine program for inpatient and ambulatory care at Carroll County Memorial Hospital, Harrison County Hospital and Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center.
Medical carts outfitted with video conferencing equipment and peripheral devices such as digital stethoscopes will connect to specialists operating laptop control stations at Norton Healthcare's five hospitals in Louisville. The medical carts provide a way for the large hospital specialists to be at the patient's bedside for examination, consultation, referrals and prescriptions. Through the video connection, the physicians can also access the patient's medical record and document their notes in the system. With an emphasis on pulmonary, cardiology, neurology and critical care, the project plans to reduce the number of patient transfers, reduce the outmigration of patients outside of their communities, and reduce the risk of transferring critically ill patients. It will also decrease the overall cost of patient care while increasing the quality of personalized care. The telemedicine initiative is expected to be operational this summer, Esposito said.
About Norton Healthcare
For more than 125 years, Norton Healthcare's faith heritage has guided its mission to provide quality health care to all those it serves. Today, Norton Healthcare is the Louisville, Ky. area's leading hospital and health care system and third largest private employer, providing care at nearly 140 locations throughout Greater Louisville and Southern Indiana. The Louisville-based not-for-profit system includes five Louisville hospitals with more than 1,800 licensed beds; five outpatient centers; 12 Norton Immediate Care Centers; 11,800 employees; more than 570 employed medical providers; and in excess of 2,000 total physicians on its medical staff. Norton Healthcare was the 2011 recipient of the prestigious National Quality Forum National Quality Healthcare Award, along with the 2011 Kentucky Hospital Association Quality Award. The organization has consistently been recognized as one of the best places to work in Metro Louisville, the state of Kentucky and nationally. Norton Healthcare and Humana are one of only four national pilot sites, and the only one in Kentucky, to study the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model through the prestigious Brookings – Dartmouth ACO Pilot Project. More information about Norton Healthcare is available at NortonHealthcare.com.