Stanford Hospital announces Nevada neurosurgery clinic

Sept. 20, 2011, 3:05 a.m.

Stanford Hospital and St. Rose Dominican Hospitals of Nevada are partnering to expand the St. Rose Center for Neurosurgery, the institutions recently announced. This move marks the first time Stanford Hospital & Clinics (SHC) will collaborate with an out-of-state facility.

Rod Davis, president and CEO of St. Rose, said he sees clear advantages for his institution to partner with Stanford Hospital, which was ranked the 17th best overall hospital and 20th best neurosurgery center in the nation by U.S. News & World Report this year.

The expansion will include the construction of a new building near St. Rose’s Siena campus in Henderson, Nev.

“Number one, the surgeons here will have access to consultation with faculty at Stanford, access to conferences, access to educational opportunities and will work in collaboration with them in establishing best clinical practices,” Davis said.

“The second advantage is that occasionally there are cases, very rare cases, that we don’t have the ability to do locally, and this will enable people to access those services at Stanford Hospital & Clinics.”

Both Davis and Gary Steinberg, chair of Stanford neurosurgery, emphasized that only specialized cases beyond the resources of St. Rose will be referred to Stanford.

“There may be very rare cases that you don’t see in a relatively small population like southern Nevada,” Davis said. “You may see it in such few numbers that you don’t develop a strong proficiency, or you may not have the proper instrumentation or the appropriate equipment to take care of that rare case.”

For most cases, however, Davis is confident in the capabilities of his own neurosurgery team.

“We have excellent neurosurgeons who practice here at St. Rose,” he said.  “I think it’s a credit to them that they meet the credentialing criteria that Stanford has, which is very high.”

A key to this partnership is Dr. Randal Peoples, a neurosurgeon at St. Rose who will be a member of the Stanford faculty in addition to serving as the medical director of the new clinic in Henderson. According to Davis, Peoples had a strong prior professional connection with the Stanford neurosurgery department, but was ultimately chosen because of his professional capabilities and credentials.

Steinberg emphasized the importance of Peoples becoming a Stanford faculty member.

“It makes collaboration much easier,” Steinberg said. “We pay his salary, so he is definitely a part of the team.”

The collaboration between the two hospitals extends beyond Peoples’ dual role, however, and could evolve in the coming years.

“This is the beginning of what we believe is going to become a much more comprehensive relationship between SHC and St. Rose hospital in Nevada,” Steinberg said. “We are hoping to expand our work together, for instance, next into transplantation services.”

Both Davis and Steinberg said they see collaboration as a growing, positive trend in health care. The outcome, they argue, is greater efficiency and knowledge.

According to Steinberg, Stanford will get referrals of complicated, possibly academically interesting cases. The new clinic will also permit Stanford to put academic advancements into practice in communities.

“The delivery of certain kinds of care, particularly complex kinds of specialties like neurosurgery, has become regionalized to academic centers in many cases,” Steinberg noted. “The community cannot always take advantage of that knowledge, and Stanford feels very strongly that we have a responsibility to provide the best quality healthcare to the community.”

The results of better communication between the hospitals and greater access to specialized knowledge may not show up simply as better outcomes, but also as more efficient outcomes.

“The purpose [of collaboration] is to integrate data so you can collect data and analyze it, and to align incentives so you are all working together to raise the overall quality,” Davis said.  “If we all pull together in the same direction we have the opportunity to reduce costs in the health delivery system.”

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