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CVPH consolidates cardiac surgery unit - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

CVPH consolidates cardiac surgery unit

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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. -

Heart surgery is now a thing of the past at the Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital.  Officials say all major cardiac procedures will be performed across the lake at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington.  It's part of a cooperative agreement between the two facilities. Doctors at Fletcher Allen will operate on New Yorkers, while CVPH will focus and grow its work with less invasive procedures such as angioplasty.

"National trends were that the rate of cardiac surgery was going down and down and down, and it made sense to consolidate that," said CVPH President Stephens Mundy.

CVPH began investing in the area of heart surgery about ten year ago,  but health care analyst Hamilton Davis says the new competition drove costs up, not down.  Now they say it makes more sense to cooperate than compete. "Moving to rationalize how that care is delivered on a cooperative basis rather than a competitive basis makes a ton of sense to do now," Davis said.

The consolidation of cardiovascular services will mean both hospitals will see more patients in their new specialties, and Davis says the increased patient flow will mean better outcomes. "The more that you do that in centers where there's more of it going on, where there's lots of resources, is actually better in the quality sense," he said. While a trip to Burlington may not be as convenient for New Yorkers, Davis says the quality of care far outweighs the drive time.

"I think it'd be nicer to still have it here so that people didn't have to go such a distance to Burlington, but as long as they have great doctors and everybody gets the best care they can that's all that matters," said Ranee Magoon-Pombrio of Ellenburg Center.

CVPH president Stephens Mundy says the change caused several job cuts at the hospital, but most staff members have already found new positions. And since Fletcher Allen is considered in-network for most New York insurance companies, Mundy says the transition should be nearly seamless. "We'll be training family practice physicians through an affiliation with University of Vermont and turning out four to six new physicians every 3 years starting in 2016," he said.

Doctors on both sides of the lake, providing cooperative cardiac care in the Champlain Valley.

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