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Archive for January, 2008

Piedmont Heart Institute

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Two major announcements made recently by Piedmont Healthcare will reshape cardiovascular services in the metro Atlanta market.

In October 2007, Piedmont President and CEO R. Timothy Stack announced the launch of the Piedmont Heart Institute (PHI). With a long history of innovation and cardiovascular experience at Piedmont Hospital, the new Heart Institute will bring together prominent cardiovascular physician groups with one of the leading cardiac centers in the region. The Institute’s goal is to provide a new and innovative model to facilitate and enhance the quality of cardiovascular care for the community.

The Piedmont Heart Institute, the first integrated cardiovascular healthcare delivery program affiliated with a community health system in greater Atlanta, combines renowned cardiologists and the Fuqua Heart Center of Atlanta at Piedmont Hospital to propel new programs in cardiovascular research, education and excellence in prevention, arrhythmias, coronary and vascular intervention, stroke and cardiac imaging. This novel approach offers a continuum of care for patients from primary and secondary prevention, to outpatient and inpatient cardiovascular care, and appropriate quality measures and metrics to demonstrate enhanced outcomes.

Piedmont tapped Michele M. Molden, former executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Piedmont, to become chief executive officer of the PHI.

“Michele is a natural for this organization,” said Stack. “She brings enthusiasm and skill to PHI. Her years of experience with healthcare strategy, business development and hospital and physician relations make her an ideal person for this new role.”

Piedmont is well known for its collaboration between physicians and the hospitals. The collaboration provides the best approach to high quality care for patients, according to R. Stephen Taylor, M.D., chief medical officer for Piedmont Healthcare. He described the integrated healthcare delivery system as the model of the future for patient care.

Just weeks after the PHI announcement, The Atlanta Cardiology Group (ACG), announced its affiliation with the Piedmont Heart Institute. Over the past decade, ACG has succeeded in becoming one of the largest groups of cardiovascular specialists in the Southeast. ACG will perform hospital-based services at Piedmont Hospital, including cardiac catheterization and percutaneous coronary intervention, cardiac electrophysiology studies and ablation, ICD and pacemaker implantation, advanced heart failure management, and advanced cardiac imaging such as MRI/CTA.

William S. Knapp, M.D., managing partner of ACG, said, “This is an excellent affiliation for us. Since ACG’s beginning 40 years ago, we have added physicians and expanded to new communities to deliver the best quality care. The relationship with Piedmont continues this legacy.” ACG has 25 physicians in 16 offices in greater Atlanta and surrounding communities, from north Atlanta to Greensboro to Hiawassee and Douglasville.

Knapp also said that ACG physicians were particularly eager about the opportunity to become part of the Piedmont Heart Institute creating a platform through which physicians can provide enhanced care and services for their patients.

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MAA Unites with Medical Schools for Grady

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

In run up to the recent vote by the Fulton/DeKalb Hospital Authority to transfer management of Grady to a nonprofit board, the Medical Association of Atlanta (MAA) met with leaders from the Emory and Morehouse Schools of Medicine to discuss how the MAA could work in conjunction with the schools in their efforts to help save Grady.

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The MAA is the largest physician’s group in the metro Atlanta area with a history spanning more than 150 years.

The meeting presented a unified voice that Grady had to be saved from closure due to chronic financial problems. “Grady is a critical local and statewide health care resource that must be saved. Nearly one-fourth of all of residency positions in the State of Georgia reside at Grady. If Grady closes, those slots would ultimately be lost from Georgia decreasing Georgia’s physician workforce,” stated Dr. Lawley.

The connection between local area physicians, some who were once residents at Grady, and their potential influence on Grady’s future was not lost. “Grady is vital to the entire Atlanta medical community and we welcome support from the medical community’s physicians in telling their partners and affiliated hospitals about Grady’s role in the education of the future doctors of Georgia,” said Dr. Casarella,.

An immediate result of the meeting was the drafting of a letter from the MAA sent members of the Fulton/Dekalb Hospital Authority Board urging them to vote in favor of establishing an independent nonprofit corporation to run Grady.

On November 26, the Authority unanimously voted in favor of the formation of a nonprofit corporation, however, with a number of pre-conditions including guarantees of increased funding from state government. The state’s reaction to the pre-condition was overwhelmingly negative. Since then, the Authority’s board has toned down it’s demands.

According to Dr. Silver, the MAA’s next step will be to “try to make sure that the limitations set by the Fulton/Dekalb board will not jeopardize the formation of the nonprofit board.” If the nonprofit corporation is established, ” the MAA will help raise private dollars for Grady through the community.”

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Stewart Helps Area Homeless

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Dr. Gary Stewart, orthopaedic surgeon with Resurgens Orthopaedics took part in the first national effort to help relieve the foot problems experienced by area homeless. “Our Hearts to Your Soles,” founded by Pittsburgh teen Matt Conti in 2005, is teaming up with Dr. Gary Stewart to provide free foot screenings and footwear to residents of the Calvary Refuge Center.

“It is a pleasure to be part of this event and provide help to those who need it,” Dr. Stewart said. “It’s common for this population to suffer health issues from wearing shoes that don’t fit properly, simply because they don’t have the resources available to find shoes that fit. Our goal is to get them back on track to good health.”

With help and support from Soles4Soles, the international charity that collects and distributes new and gently worn shoes to needy people around the world, Our Hearts to Your Soles has been able to screen, fit and provide footwear to over 1,000 homeless men.

On November 27, 2007 “Our Hearts to Your Soles” and Soles4Souls distributed more than 2,500 pairs of new shoes to homeless shelters in twenty-five U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore, New Orleans, Charlotte, Minneapolis, Rochester, and others. “After participating in the Pittsburgh event in 2006, I knew that once I moved to Atlanta, I could bring the project here”, states Dr. Stewart.

“We were able to provide shoes to dozens of residents at Light of Life, many of whom were wearing shoes several sizes too small for their feet,” Dr. Stewart said. “The men were extremely grateful after trying on the new shoes. This experience inspired us to think bigger and broaden our outreach on a national level”

For more information about Our Hearts to Your Soles, visit www.heartstosoles.com.

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Chronic Angina – Gender Difference Research

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Saint Joseph’s Research Institute (SJRI) and Georgia State University are collaborating on a clinical study aimed at exploring differences between men and women suffering from chronic angina. Nicolas Chronos, MD, president and chief scientific officer at SJRI and Laura P. Kimble, Ph.D., associate professor, Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing, Georgia State University are the study’s principal investigators. Saint Joseph’s Hospital is the clinical site for the study.

“Research suggests that women suffer greater pain from chronic angina (CAD) than men and women may perceive and manage their symptoms differently,” says Dr. Chronos.

“This study will provide essential data to tailor gender-specific interventions about angina symptom management,’ says Dr. Kimble.

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The TRIST Study, a Kidney Cancer Trial

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Another new clinical trial, led by Dr. Henderson is the TRIST (TroVax Renal Immunotherapy Survival Trial), an international, Phase III clinical trial of Oxford BioMedica’s therapeutic cancer vaccine, TroVax, in kidney (renal) cancer.

Dr. Henderson seeks to determine whether TroVax, a type of immunotherapy, when added to first line standard of care therapy, improves survival for patients with locally advanced or metastatic kidney cancer.

The Trovax vaccine stimulates the immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells. It can be used to try to shrink or delay the progression of a cancer, or to reduce the risk of a cancer coming back after the primary tumor has been surgically removed.

“Kidney cancer is vascular,” Dr. Henderson said. “TroVax works by encouraging patients’ immune systems to launch a response against a protein that is found on the surface of solid cancers, including kidney cancers, but is not found on healthy cells. This immune response enables the body to identify and kill the cancer cells.”

Patients enrolled in the trial have standard treatments for advanced kidney cancer, which include Interferon Alpha, Aldesleukin, or Sunitinib. In addition, patients are randomized to have either TroVax or placebo injections 13 times over a year and three months (65 weeks).

TroVax has been used in clinical trials for other types of cancer. Researchers believe that giving TroVax alongside one of the standard treatments for kidney cell cancer may work better than standard treatment

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Liver Cancer Trial of Darinaparsin

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Piedmont Hospital’s Charles Henderson, M.D. , along with six other major liver cancer treatment centers around the country, is involved in a Phase II trial of the organic arsenic-based drug darinaparsin (Z10-101).

Darinaparsin, made by Ziopharm, is an organic compound. Administered intravenously, it causes cancer cells to die by targeting several cellular pathways essential for cell survival. Used as an adjunct to standard therapy, its goal is to prevent primary liver cancer from spreading.

Patients enrolled in the trial will receive the darinaparsin drug twice weekly for three weeks, followed by one week off, for a maximum of six months.

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CON Rule Changes

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

The Georgia Board of Community Health took action on the following Certificate of Need (CON) rules that are effective January 2008.

111-2-2-.11 Service-Specific Review Considerations Generally
Summary – This amendment modifies the provisions pertaining to the replacement of nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities at an alternate location. For example, now nursing homes can build a replacement facility within the same county.

Final Vote – Unanimously approved with no objections.

111-2-2-.40 Specific Review Considerations for Ambulatory Surgery Services
Summary – This amendment redefines general surgery as a single specialty and updates the definition of multi-specialty ambulatory surgery service.

Final Vote – Unanimously approved with no objections.

This policy change is supported by the recommendations made by the CON Commission, which was created by the Georgia General Assembly.

In addition, the board voted and approved a resolution that requests the General Assembly create legislation requiring all exempted owners and operators of ambulatory surgery centers that provide charitable care to document and report their utilization data to the state.

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GCS Launches ChemoOrders.com

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Georgia Cancer Specialists (GCS) launched a new web site, ChemoOrders.com, to help doctors and nurses administer current chemotherapy protocols in a more accurate and efficient manner. The web site is available for free to medical professionals and the public.

ChemoOrders.com creates patient-specific chemotherapy orders and supporting documents based on physician or nurse-entered vital signs and disease parameters. An average order takes about one minute to enter and print.

“Cancer is actually 200 diseases that behave differently and require individualized protocols,” he said. “And those protocols can vary greatly among two patients with the same type of cancer,” says Dr. Bruce Feinberg–GCS president and CEO.

Traditionally, doctors have developed treatment regimens on a case-by-case basis, and without access to a current and comprehensive treatment guide.

In addition to chemotherapy order forms, the site also produces print-ready chemotherapy flow sheets, informed consents, and patient education materials.

ChemoOrders.com uses established peer-reviewed clinical guidelines to ensure that the most current disease protocols are outlined. Protocol selection and scientific content oversight are performed by a group of physicians, ONS-certified nurses and nurse practitioners, and pharmacists. All listed protocols are FDA approved, compendia listed, or both.

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Village Podiatry Establishes Pathology Lab

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Village Podiatry Group, the largest podiatric surgical group in Georgia, has now brought pathology services in house. The new lab, Podiatry Pathology Lab of Georgia, LLC, is the first dedicated, podiatric pathology lab in the state. An Atlanta based pathology group manages the lab’s operations which recently received CLIA certification in accordance with FDA standards. John Cochran, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Chestatee Pathology Associates is the lab’s medical director.

Previously, pathology work was sent to Quest and LabCorp. Under the new arrangement, the technical services are performed by Emory Adventist Hospital in Smyrna and Chestatee Pathology manages the professional services. Dr. Cochran says the lab handles a variety of podiatry pathology services including skin biopsies for potential cancer, nail screenings and bone biopsies to rule out infections. Specimens are collected from both in office and out patient procedures performed at Village Podiatry’s two affiliated surgical centers in metro Atlanta.

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Clark Named CVM’s Director of Operations

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Cardiovascular Medicine (CVM), a provider of cardiovascular services in Cobb and surrounding counties, announced that Ms. Kerry Clark has been named Director of Operations.

clark.thumbnail.jpgMs. Clark received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the Neil Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University and Masters of Science in Health Services Administration from the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois.

Most recently Ms. Clark served as the Director of Interventional Cardiology at WellStar Kennestone Hospital. In this capacity she was responsible for developing, building and managing the new interventional cardiology program which was established in conjunction with the open heart surgery program at Kennestone in 2004. She has also served as a consultant to WellStar Cobb Hospital in the development of their interventional program. Previously, Ms. Clark was instrumental in building the orthopedic and neuroscience program and Stroke Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital of Atlanta and served as the Cath Lab Manager for Atlanta Cardiology Group, P.C.

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