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Thursday, July 22, 2010 - UVA and VCU to expand congenital cardiac surgical care for pediatric and adult patients

The University of Virginia Health System and Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center today announced the Pediatric Surgery Congenital Heart Collaborative to provide coordinated pediatric cardiac surgical care and adult congenital cardiac surgical care for patients in Charlottesville and Richmond.

The joint program also will provide treatment and educational and research services that enhance patient access to specialized surgical treatments with coordinated patient care.

"Virginia's two major academic medical centers are collaborating our clinical expertise, advanced technology and research to extend the surgical care for children and adults with congenital heart disease to a coordinated, collaborative level," said R. Edward Howell, vice president and CEO, University of Virginia Medical Center. "At the same time, we are increasing efficiencies and avoiding duplication and costs."

VCU and UVA officials said the program also will enhance the organizations' ability to attract and retain high quality health care providers and translational research efforts.

"We are excited about this agreement because it provides a formal framework for VCU and UVA to collaborate our shared goal to provide outstanding pediatric heart surgical care to children and families," said John Duval, CEO of MCV Hospitals, VCU Health System.

Dr. Irving L. Kron, a renowned thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon, will work collaboratively with the management of UVA and VCU to provide overall medical direction for the joint program. "I look forward to working with VCU for the care of patients with congenital heart disease," Kron stated.

Dr. James Gangemi, a distinguished pediatric thoracic and cardiothoracic surgeon, will serve as surgical medical director for the program. Referring physicians and patients or their families will be able to meet with Dr. Gangemi for specialized congenital heart surgical care consultation. Surgical care will be provided at VCU and UVA depending on the patient needs. "We have a history of collaborating across the commonwealth and have developed a dedicated team that allows us to provide outstanding care to children having heart surgery on a wide variety of congenital heart defects," Gangemi said.

Officials said the collaborative program ultimately will result in a regional and national model for pediatric cardiac surgery care and adult congenital cardiac surgery care, treatment, training and research.

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