CMC-Union adds hospitalists for pediatric care
06 September 2013
Jennifer Thomas, Charlotte Business Journal
Carolinas Medical Center-Union will enhance its pediatric care and expand access through an agreement with Levine Children’s Hospital.
The Monroe hospital has contracted with the 234-bed children’s hospital in Charlotte to oversee inpatient pediatric care starting Monday.
Three hospitalists will provide 24/7 coverage, with the possibility of further expansion based on admissions, says Mike Lutes, president of CMC-Union.
Previously, local pediatricians were on a rotating schedule to cover care for those patients.
“The continuity of care really improves with this staffing model,” Lutes says. “It really met what was best for our community.”
The health-care system declines to share costs to implement the hospitalist coverage.
CMC-Union has a long-term lease with Carolinas HealthCare System in Charlotte, parent to Levine Children’s.
In August, Cleveland Regional Medical Center — another Carolinas HealthCare facility — also added pediatric hospitalists through a similar arrangement.
Lutes notes that more patients were bypassing CMC-Union and traveling to Levine Children’s because of its reputation and quality of care. Adding hospitalists ensures patients will receive the same level of care closer to home, Lutes says.
CMC-Union also is making a $57 million investment into its facility, including expanded women’s and children’s care. As part of that project, plans call for the pediatric unit to be expanded to 13 rooms, up from seven currently.
That will make it possible to create an environment similar to Levine Children’s, even down to the finishes, Lutes says.
“This will allow families to stay close to home for their pediatric care,” he adds. “We just couldn’t have expanded these services without Levine Children’s Hospital.”
Plans also call for a pediatric urgent-care center to open in Union County in November.
The goal is to create a seamless care-delivery system for pediatric patients and their families, while providing care in the appropriate setting, Lutes says. For example, CMC-Union will be able to admit and care for patients suffering from ailments such as dehydration, pneumonia or asthma-relates issues. Those that need higher-acuity care can be transferred to Levine Children’s as needed.
“There are a lot of definite benefits of having these pediatric hospitalists there,” says Dr. Renu Doshi, a pediatrician with Waxhaw Pediatrics.
This will allow pediatricians in Union County to concentrate on their outpatient schedules. That will increase access and free up appointments previously blocked out to covering inpatient care.
And, the number of pediatric patients admitted to CMC-Union is likely to increase, because that specialized care is now available 24/7, Doshi says.
“Pediatric medicine is a specialty in and of itself,” she says.
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