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Duke to Provide Cardiovascular Services at SC Hospital

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 11, 2011

Duke University Health System will provide cardiovascular services, including open heart surgery and elective angioplasty, at Lexington Medical Center in West Columbia, SC, the two health systems announced this week.

Lexington Medical Center said its new affiliation with DUHS will help achieve a long-sought goal of providing a full range of cardiovascular services for the service area around the state capital. Lexington County is one of the fastest growing counties in South Carolina, and the largest without an open heart surgery program.

LMC operates the second busiest emergency department in South Carolina, treating more than 94,000 patients each year. The hospital also operates two catheterization labs. The South Carolina Office of Research and Statistics shows that 337 people from Lexington County required open heart surgery in 2007, LMC said.

DUHS, based in Durham, NC, will lend its experience and brand name in recruiting blue chip cardiovascular surgeons and cardiac anesthesiologists to work at LMC. DUHS will also help recruit and train of nurses and staff, design of the open heart surgery operating room, implementation of policies and procedures, and oversee quality and development for all cardiovascular services at LMC.

In fiscal 2010, the DUHS performed more than 8,500 diagnostic catheterizations, 2,000 angioplasties, more than 1,800 open heart surgeries, 100 lung transplants and 64 heart transplants.

LMC expects to begin its new cardiac surgical program in 2011, with two heart surgeons and a team of nurses and staff with special training in cardiac care, including intensive post-surgery cardiac and pulmonary monitoring. Procedures to be included in LMC’s cardiovascular program will be open heart surgery and expansion of therapeutic catheterizations to include elective angioplasty, LMC said. 

The 414-bed LMC anchors a countywide health care network that includes six community medical centers and employs 5,100 health care professionals. The network also includes the largest extended care facility in the state, two occupational health centers and more than 40 physician practices, LMC said.

On Feb. 1, DUHS and LifePoint Hospitals partnered to create “flexible affiliation options” that will range from joint ventures to outright ownership of community hospitals in North Carolina, the two healthcare providers announced. The joint venture -- DLP Healthcare, LLC  -- is one of the first between an academic health system and a for-profit hospital company, Duke/LifePoint said.


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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