February 19. 2014 2:30PM - Last modified: February 19. 2014 2:31PM

ProHealth Care switches surgery partner

Waukesha-based ProHealth Care has announced it will work with Indiana University Health to create a cardiothoracic surgery program.

“The people of Indiana University Health have established one of the best heart surgery programs anywhere, and we are delighted to be working with them to make that same high level of care available to our patients right here in Waukesha County,” said Susan Edwards, chief executive officer of ProHealth Care.

“We are enthusiastic about our new partnership with ProHealth Care,” said Arthur Coffey, MD, medical director of cardiovascular surgery at IU Health. “By combining our knowledge and expertise with ProHealth’s many strengths, we will be able to achieve great things for patients in Wisconsin.”

Cardiothoracic surgeries involve the heart and chest. A cardiothoracic surgeon operates on the heart, large blood vessels, areas of the chest and in some cases the lungs, performing such surgeries as heart transplants and bypass surgeries.

In March, 2013, ProHealth and Columbia St. Mary’s had announced that the two health systems would jointly develop a new cardiothoracic surgery program, but that partnership will not be going into effect.

Columbia St. Mary’s is instead working to develop an alliance with Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin on its cardiac surgery care, said Allan Spooner, president of the Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital Division. 

“Together with Froedtert and the Medical College, Columbia St. Mary’s believes it is in the best interests of our patients and the community for us to build on the local strengths that each partner brings to the community, and jointly grow our high-quality cardiac programs,” said Spooner. “Through our RFP process, ProHealth has come to a different choice for a partner. Ultimately, each system has chosen what they believe is the best solution for their patients and the community.”

IU Health was chosen after a “nationwide search for the right partner,” said Steve Kulick, MD, ProHealth Care’s chief medical officer. 

The physicians and staff of ProHealth and IU Health will collaborate to establish a premier surgery program in Waukesha.  The Waukesha program will employ the clinical protocols, care pathways and quality metrics that have been the foundation of Indiana’s program.  IU Health and ProHealth will jointly oversee the surgery program in Waukesha, setting standards for clinical quality, safety and the patient experience.

“Essentially, we will be combining all of our knowledge and experience with all of ProHealth Care’s expertise to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients,” Coffey said. 

IU Health and ProHealth will work toward adding services at Waukesha Memorial that will allow patients to benefit from new treatment options and new technologies rooted in the latest evidence-based practices. 

The cardiothoracic surgeons will work in partnership with ProHealth Care’s cardiologists and electrophysiologists to provide complete heart care services.

“This is a big step forward for our heart care program and for our patients,” said Kooroush Saeian, MD, medical director of cardiology for ProHealth Care. “Our cardiologists look forward to working in partnership with IU Health and taking our program to a new level.”