Providence partnerships bring state-of-the-art academic medicine to the South Bay
Written by Melanie Anderson
In collaboration with Providence Little Company of Mary, four of the region’s most trusted nationally recognized names in academic medicine are providing world-class care in the South Bay.
“On any given day, if you go into the doctors’ dining lounge, you might see lab coats that say Providence Little Company of Mary, City of Hope, Keck Medicine of USC, UCLA Health, and Pacific Neuroscience Institute. They are all sitting together for lunch, which is pretty remarkable,” says Garry Olney, chief executive for Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Centers San Pedro and Torrance.
Partnerships with each of those institutions is why we continue to provide some of the best care in the South Bay. Patients can seek complex care locally instead of traveling beyond the South Bay. “Within Providence, we have top-quality outcomes,” says Olney. What this tells us is that we have found the right partners and that, culturally, these partnerships are a great fit.
CITY OF HOPE
Renowned for providing leading-edge cancer care, City of Hope draws patients from all over the West Coast to its main campus in Duarte. Thanks to a partnership that launched in 2018, patients receive City of Hope’s expert care right here in the South Bay.
“Our goal was to alleviate the burden of commuting on patients and be able to provide the same care locally,” says Moshe Faynsod, MD, surgical oncologist and assistant clinical professor in the Department of Surgery at City of Hope. “We really depend on Providence and all its clinical services, including highly trained staff in the operating room, a phenomenal pathology department, and a second-to-none radiology department, to be able to provide the same high level of care we provide at the Duarte location.”
Located in the Providence Little Company of Mary Advanced Care Center in Torrance, City of Hope | South Bay provides medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology and clinical trials. The partnership is facilitating the type of collaborative, multidisciplinary approach that Dr. Faynsod says “makes cancer care a cut above.”
“If I see patients for a surgical consultation and want to refer them to meet with a medical oncologist, they’re leaving that day with that appointment in hand,” he says. “We’re also able to expedite any additional studies, pathology, or labs because we have that seamless communication and partnership with Providence. When you are told you have cancer, getting appointments and results of testing quickly allows for the patient and physician to develop a plan of care expeditiously so treatment can begin immediately.”
About a year ago, a patient who had delayed treatment of bilateral breast cancer walked in off the street without an appointment. City of Hope’s multidisciplinary team—surgical, medical and radiation oncologists—assembled immediately. “We had to approach her case from all three perspectives,” says Dr. Faynsod. “We saw the patient together and formulated a plan right then and there. Subsequently, she had both cancers removed. She is now receiving radiation therapy and doing well.”
KECK MEDICINE OF USC
Over the past 15 years, the field of cardiac surgery has become increasingly complex, due in part to the fact that straightforward cases can now be treated with less invasive—or catheter-based— procedures versus traditional open-heart surgery.
“The number of patients seeking open-heart surgery for non-complex disease has decreased. Those patients who do need surgery are usually sicker and require more complex surgical procedures. Having state-of-the-art capability in serving those more complex patients was what prompted us to look for a nationally recognized academic partner,” says Olney.
As division chief of cardiac surgery at Keck Medicine of USC, Craig J. Baker, MD, says he is constantly seeking partners that can support delivery of USC’s expert cardiac surgical care in a community setting—and he calls Providence the “right partner.”
Vaughn Starnes, MD, professor and chair of USC’s Department of Surgery agrees. “Providence Little Company of Mary was the ideal choice to bring Keck Medicine of USC’s academic-based cardiac care to the patients of the South Bay, allowing them to stay close to home.”
“It takes forward-thinking leadership within organizations to want to make that investment, and if they do, then it’s a win-win,” says Dr. Baker. “We get to deliver quality to the community, the patients benefit from knowing that they don’t have to leave the community to get the care, and the hospitals end up with stronger programs because of it.”
Through the partnership, four highly skilled cardiovascular surgeons from USC—Matthew Powers, MD, Jonathan Cash, MD, Raymond Lee, MD, and Dr. Baker—are operating at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance.
“We’re doing more revision surgery, more double and triple valve replacements, and seeing more patients with complex endocarditis requiring surgical repair of a valve. We’re treating a lot of aortic dissection and patients needing enhanced cardiac mechanical support,”says Dr. Baker. “All of those things are very difficult to deliver at a community hospital if they don’t have the support of a strong program.”
The Providence-USC partnership is off to a strong start. “We’ve seen volumes and quality go up significantly,” Dr. Baker says. “As our reputation becomes known in the community, I only see growth in the future.”
PACIFIC NEUROSCIENCE INSTITUTE
Providence and Pacific Neuroscience Institute (PNI) are well suited to work together to offer the best neurological care in the South Bay, says Daniel F. Kelly, MD, director of the Pacific Neuroscience Institute and a professor of neurosurgery at the John Wayne Cancer Institute, Providence Saint John’s Health Center.
“PNI has eight clinical centers of excellence encompassing neuroscience disorders as diverse as brain, pituitary and orbital tumors, stroke and cerebral aneurysms, hydrocephalus, facial pain syndromes, Parkinson’s disease and spinal disorders,” he says.
“Given the need for clinical expertise in all these areas at Little Company of Mary, we thought PNI could offer a unifying solution for our Providence partners in the South Bay,” says Richard Glimp, MD, chief medical officer of Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance.
In particular, the partnership has elevated stroke care at Providence, providing South Bay residents who have a stroke with the highest level of care. Providence Little Company of Mary was the first comprehensive stroke center in the South Bay and is the only center in the South Bay certified by The Joint Commission.
“Prior to 2017, when PNI began its partnership with Little Company of Mary, stroke patients that came to Little Company of Mary typically had to be transferred out to other stroke centers,” Dr. Kelly says. “And as we know, ‘time is brain’ when it comes to treating strokes— every minute counts. Now Little Company of Mary is one of the busiest comprehensive stroke centers in all of LA County, so when stroke patients come in, we have a highly experienced team of neuro-interventionalists, neurosurgeons and neurocritical care specialists ready 24/7 to provide essential lifesaving stroke care on the spot. The benefits to the community have been remarkable.”
The partnership, while only a few years old, has been a huge success for everyone involved, he adds.
“Our collaboration has exceeded all expectations and continues to grow and improve,” Dr. Kelly says. “We are adding new physicians to the team and expanding clinical trials in several areas, including brain tumors and movement disorders, as well as expanding our brain health and dementia care programs to Little Company of Mary in 2021.”
Providence’s partnership with UCLA Health is twofold. One aspect involves UCLA Health specialists opening practices in the community and joining the staff of Providence Little Company of Mary Torrance and San Pedro.
“There are a lot of patients who have been going up to Westwood looking for that quality of care UCLA is known for, so UCLA developed a community neighborhood strategy to come into communities and partner with local hospitals,” says Olney.
For several years, UCLA has partnered with Little Company of Mary to care for their heart, liver and lung transplant patients. These patients, when stabilized, are transferred from UCLA to PLCMMC San Pedro which has the state’s largest Subacute Care Center as well as a nationally renowned acute rehabilitation program.
“UCLA found that Little Company of Mary was the right partner to provide this specialized level of care to these very fragile patients following their transplant,” says Olney.
The partnership involves Patrick L. Bui, MD, a UCLA Health hospitalist, working closely with Huong-Anh N. Long, MD, and her rehabilitation team at Providence. “Together they monitor the patient postoperatively and condition the patient physically and psychologically to adjust to their new transplant and strengthen themselves so that they can go home,” says Dr. Glimp.
The first case had been at UCLA in an ICU bed for almost a year. He was transferred to Little Company of Mary San Pedro, and the multidisciplinary patient care team worked to get the patient strong enough to go home. The patient was cared for in the subacute for 10 days and then transferred to the acute rehabilitation unit for another two weeks and was discharged home to celebrate his 40th wedding anniversary with his wife.
“Good partnerships,” Dr. Glimp says, “lead to great outcomes.”
For more information, or for a physician referral, please call 888-HEALING (432-5464).
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