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St. Vincent, Heart Clinic Arkansas Join Forces

(LITTLE ROCK, ARK.) – St. Vincent Health System and Heart Clinic Arkansas are excited to announce that, as of January 1, 2012, Heart Clinic Arkansas has joined St. Vincent in the development of The Jack Stephens Heart Institute, LLC. Heart Clinic Arkansas is joining three of the state’s premier cardiovascular surgeons, Drs. F. Michael Bauer, Frederick Meadors, and Charles Watkins, who formed the Heart Institute in June 2011.

Heart Clinic Arkansas, now known as St. Vincent Heart Clinic Arkansas, is the state’s largest cardiology group with 29 physicians. They provide service in over 17 communities across the state, with permanent office locations in Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Searcy.

“This alignment represents a truly unique opportunity to partner with the best surgeons in the state and a hospital system with a long-standing tradition and commitment to excellence to develop a nationally-recognized center for cardiovascular care,” says Randy Jordan, MD, former president of Heart Clinic Arkansas. “The key to our success is that the physicians will have direct responsibility for both governing and leading all aspects of the Institute. That will further our ability to radically transform the quality, service, safety, and cost of cardiovascular care in our community.”

The initial Board members of the Jack Stephens Heart Institute include: J. Lynn Davis, MD, Chairman of the Board; Scott Rypkema, MD, cardiologist, Mark St. Pierre, MD, cardiologist; Fred Meadors, MD, cardiovascular surgeon; Andrew Kumpuris, MD, cardiologist; Dave Parker, Chairman, SVHS Board of Directors; Peter Banko, SVHS President & CEO; and Jon Timmis, SVHS SVP & Chief Strategy Officer. Marcia Atkinson is the VP/Administrator of the Heart Institute and Randy Jordan, MD is the Chief Medical Officer.

Similar to the alignment with the cardiovascular surgeons, St. Vincent has acquired the entire practice and now directly employs all personnel formerly employed by Heart Clinic Arkansas. “We are making a mutual commitment to each other and to the community by literally going all-in”, Peter D. Banko, President & CEO of St. Vincent, says of the decision to have St. Vincent acquire the practice verses some looser affiliation. “In December 2009, we developed a bold vision of the future of cardiovascular care in our community and we agreed at that time that all partners need to be completely aligned and make long-term commitments to one another.”

As part of the development of The Jack Stephens Heart Institute and to develop a true regional center, St. Vincent has committed an investment of $36 million to bring the latest in technology available today in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular care. The showpiece of the investment is the addition of a hybrid cath lab, the first non-academic hybrid technology in the state. The hybrid lab combines imaging and surgery in a way that cardiovascular surgeons, cardiologists, and radiologists can treat a patient simultaneously in the same suite and perform procedures only done in the largest centers in the country (such as minimally invasive procedures including catheter-based valve replacements). “This technology will transform how we approach certain cardiovascular treatments and place us among the premier programs in the country,” stated Fred Meadors, MD.

Among the other investments in the development of the Heart Institute include the construction of four new cardiovascular operating suites, replacement of seven cath labs at St. Vincent Infirmary and St. Vincent North, two 64-slice CT scanners to be central to the new chest pain centers in Little Rock and North Little Rock, and renovation of existing patient care units to provide increased cardiovascular and critical care capacity.

St. Vincent Health System, founded in 1888, is one of Arkansas’ leading health systems. St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center, an acute care facility, licensed for 619 beds, located in Little Rock, serves as the hub of the health system. Other St. Vincent hospitals include St. Vincent North, licensed for 69 beds, in Sherwood; and St. Vincent Morrilton, licensed for 49 beds, in Morrilton. The system also includes a network of primary care clinics, home health agency and affiliations with more than 650 physicians. St. Vincent is part of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a national nonprofit health organization with headquarters in Denver, Colorado. The faith-based system operates in 19 states and includes 73 hospitals; 40 long-term care, assisted- and residential-living facilities; two community health services organizations; and home health agencies.

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