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SMH-Columbia Medical Center Collaborate to Provide Leading Edge Heart Care

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Click here to read the Sarasota Herald-Tribune article


Affiliation between Sarasota Memorial Health Care System and Columbia University Medical Center’s Division of Cardiac Surgery to provide local patients greater access to the latest innovations and treatment options in cardiac care.

SARASOTA, Fla. (March 29, 2012) – Sarasota Memorial Health Care System has been consistently recognized among the nation’s best hospitals for cardiac care. Just last week, it was once again ranked among America’s 50 Best Hospitals by HealthGrades, with 5-star ratings in heart care and more than 20 other specialties.

New York’s Columbia University Medical Center has long been ranked among the best academic medical schools and cardiovascular teaching programs in the nation.

Today, officials from the two top heart programs announced a strategic collaboration to make heart care even better for those living in Southwest Florida.

“This collaboration brings together the best of both worlds – one of the nation's top academic medical centers and one of the nation’s best community hospitals,” said Ricardo Yaryura, MD, medical director of Sarasota Memorial’s cardiology services.

“Sarasota Memorial has exceptionally trained and experienced cardiologists and cardiac surgeons,” he added. “The collaborative training opportunities will allow us to further build our program and accelerate Sarasota Memorial’s ability to pioneer new technology and provide local patients and physicians with the latest innovations and treatment options in cardiac care.”

The affiliation with Columbia’s Division of Cardiac Surgery, ranked sixth in the nation for cardiovascular care by U.S. News & World Report, gives Sarasota Memorial and its physicians 24/7 access to the cardiac surgery faculty and researchers at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons medical school for case consultation, as well as the latest teaching, research initiatives and clinical trials under way in the academic setting.

“We are proud to align ourselves with Sarasota Memorial, and share our academic strengths, training and research initiatives with an already top-notch cardiac team,” said Craig Smith, MD, chairman of Columbia’s Department of Surgery. “The collaboration will combine the strengths of both programs to ensure patients have access to state-of-the-art technology and research and receive outstanding cardiac care.”

Benefits of the collaboration include:

• 24/7 access to Columbia’s cardiac surgery faculty and researchers for case consultation.
• Accelerated access to new cardiac devices and therapies, including the latest minimally invasive and percutaneous treatment options.
• Participation in research initiatives and clinical trials under way in the academic setting. Sarasota Memorial physicians also will have the opportunity to receive Columbia faculty appointments.
• Greater visibility as the hospital recruits top-notch physicians and clinical leaders to the region.
• Coordinated access to Columbia Medical Center in New York for patients who need procedures not routinely performed at Sarasota Memorial, such as pediatric heart surgery and heart transplants.

The collaboration was announced as Sarasota Memorial pursues some of the latest advances in cardiac care. Later this year, the hospital will open a new hybrid OR-cardiac catheterization lab, thanks to a grant from Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, Inc. The state-of-the-art procedure room will allow cardiologists and cardiac surgeons to perform complex procedures simultaneously, so heart patients who need more than one surgery don’t have to go through multiple procedures and recovery periods. Columbia had the first dual-trained surgeon in both cardiac surgery and interventional cardiology, and has an established hybrid surgery program and protocols with outstanding clinical outcomes and low co-morbidities. Sarasota Memorial and its physicians will benefit from shared resources and one of the best training programs in the nation.

Similarly, the hospital is opening a new Valve Center in the coming months to offer the latest tests and treatments – including minimally invasive transcatheter aortic valve replacement, TAVR – for patients with severe aortic stenosis (narrowing of the heart valves). The procedure is used to replace high-risk patients’ diseased aortic valve without heart bypass or open-heart surgery. Columbia’s experience with its own well-established Valve Clinic can guide Sarasota Memorial’s efforts as the local program evolves.

“This relationship presents wonderful learning opportunities for everyone involved,” said Sarasota Memorial CEO Gwen MacKenzie. “With Columbia at our side, we’ve gained a study partner at the top of its class, with skills and experience that complement and augment our own – and most importantly, one that shares our commitment to bring the benefits of academic medicine to the people of our community.”

About Sarasota Memorial Health Care System
Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is a regional referral center offering Southwest Florida’s greatest breadth and depth of inpatient, outpatient and extended care services, with more than 800,000 patient visits a year. Sarasota Memorial’s 806-bed acute care hospital has ranked among the top 1% of the nation’s 5,000-plus hospitals for consistent clinical excellence in HealthGrades’ annual studies since the award’s inception in 2007. To be recognized with this distinction, hospitals must achieve the lowest risk-adjusted mortality and complication rates in the nation for the most consecutive years. For information, visit:

About Columbia University Medical Center
Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical, and clinical research; in medical and health sciences education; and in patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Established in 1767, Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons was the first institution in the country to grant the M.D. degree and is among the most selective medical schools in the country. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and State and one of the largest in the United States. For more information, please visit ###

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