Phil Castle, The Business Times
Alex Clark believes a collaborative effort between St. Mary’s Medical Center and Children’s Hospital Colorado saved her son when a test during her pregnancy revealed he had an abnormally low heart rate.
The condition remained stable, but the collaboration also allowed Clark to remain in Grand Junction for monitoring rather than travel back and forth to Denver or even move there. “It was a huge difference,” she said.
That’s one example of what’s now a formal agreement establishing a pediatric care alliance will offer, officials with the two hospitals said.
“This is a complete game changer,” said Dr. Amy Gagnon, a specialist in maternal and fetal medicine at St. Mary’s.
Dr. Brian Davidson, president of St. Mary’s Medical Center, said the alliance will provide patients in Western Colorado with access to more specialized neonatal and pediatric services without having to travel to Denver or Salt Lake City. Moreover, Davidson said he considers Children’s Hospital Colorado one of the top institutions of its kind nationwide. “We’re both excited and proud.”
Jena Hausmann, chief executive officer of Children’s Hospital Colorado, said she’s pleased with the alliance as well in extending services and resources beyond urban areas. “We are so fortunate to be able to partner together. We look forward to an incredible journey together.”
Davidson said the formal care alliance constitutes the end result of more than a year of planning, but builds on a long-term relationship between the hospitals. The alliance is the latest of five Children’s Hospital of Colorado has established, he said.
The alliance will coordinate and streamline care to improve quality while reducing costs as well as help in sharing knowledge and advancing research, Davidson said. The alliance also will provide more education and resources to health care providers at St. Mary’s and help in recruiting additional providers.
For patients and their families, the alliance means more services will be available in Western Colorado, including telemedicine technology linking patients at St. Mary’s to specialists at Children’s Hospital, he added.
Gagnon said the collaboration helped Clark and Camden in detecting and diagnosing a condition in which Camden had a low heart rate, then allowed Alex to remain in the Grand Valley for twice-weekly tests for the remainder of her pregnancy.
Telemedicine will help to reduce or eliminate travel for expectant mothers, which in itself can pose a risk, Gagnon said. The parents of children who require pediatric surgeries will be able to meet with surgeons and ask questions beforehand without having to travel to Denver.
Clark said she’s grateful for what the collaboration did for her and her son and believes the alliance will benefit others. “It will help other moms.”