May 14, 2012

St. Charles Health System and Bend Memorial Clinic are working together to better coordinate pulmonary critical care for patients treated in the Intensive Care Unit at the Bend hospital.

Bend Memorial Clinic CEO Greg Hagfors and St. Charles Health System President and CEO Jim Diegel felt that pulmonary critical care was an area where the two organizations could and should collaborate for the good of patients in the Central Oregon region. They signed a contract today that will not only allow their respective teams of pulmonologists to provide around-the-clock coverage of the ICU, but will also make it easier for them to standardize protocols based on evidence-based medicine.

This is important, said Dr. Michel Boileau, St. Charles’ chief clinical officer, because reducing variability in health care can improve clinical outcomes and mitigate medical harm. “We see this as the most significant collaboration between St. Charles and BMC in years.”

“This increased collaboration between physicians and organizations has an immediate and significant benefit to patients at a time of critical importance,” said Greg Hagfors, CEO, Bend Memorial Clinic. “This puts patients exactly where they need to be, in the center of the best coordinated care possible.”

Whereas the pulmonologists were formerly on-call during the nighttime hours, they will now work in-house, rotating through the night shift for a week at a time. A member of the team will also provide in-house coverage during the day.

“We believe we can provide better care when there is continuous care – and in some instances, we believe this may lead to an expedited recovery and quicker transition out of the ICU,” said Dr. Jeff Absalon, St. Charles’ chief physician officer.

While the nocturnist part of the agreement began May 1, the two groups will begin sharing the pulmonary critical care patient load at St. Charles Bend Aug. 1 after two new pulmonologists – one at BMC and one at St. Charles – join the community.


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