Kaweah Delta Affiliates with Country's Top Heart Hospital


Last updated 5/28/2019 at 3:14pm | View PDF

Photo courtesy of Kaweah Delta

Pictured (left to right) are: Regina Sawyer, D.N.P., vice president and chief nursing offi cer at Kaweah Delta; Sergio Caminha, M.D., director of cardiac surgery at Kaweah Delta; Suma Thomas, M.D., vice-chairman of strategic operations, Cleveland Clinic Heart & Vascular Institute; Gary Herbst, chief executive offi cer of Kaweah Delta; Harry Lively, M.D., chief of staff, Kaweah Delta; Jeffrey Rich, M.D., chairman of strategic operations, Cleveland Clinic Heart & Vascular Institute.

Kaweah Delta has officially joined forces with Cleveland Clinic's Heart & Vascular Institute, the No. 1 ranked heart program in the country, in an effort to elevate services for people seeking cardiovascular care in the Central Valley.

The announcement was made at a January 25th press conference attended by over 100 people at Kaweah Delta.

As an affiliate, the two organizations will stay independent, and physicians and staff of Kaweah Delta's heart program will remain the same. However, the affiliation will give Kaweah Delta access to best practices that have helped the Ohio-based Cleveland Clinic's heart program achieve U.S. News & World Report's No. 1 cardiology and heart surgery ranking since 1995.

"It is an honor to be chosen by the Cleveland Clinic as an affiliate and we know the relationship will be mutually beneficial," said Gary Herbst, chief executive officer of Kaweah Delta, noting that in 2019 Kaweah Delta was named one of America's 50 Best Hospitals for Cardiac Surgery and one of America's 100 Best Hospitals for Cardiac Care by Healthgrades. "For the past 34 years, we have provided heart care to our community and kept people close to home with great results, but we know that having this world-renowned peer organization will help us further elevate the care that we provide our community."

Additionally, as affiliates, Kaweah Delta and Cleveland Clinic's heart program will share best practices in patient care, outcomes measurement, quality reporting and clinical research. In addition, physician teams from both entities will collaborate to accelerate advances in heart care treatments and protocols. Medical staff members of Kaweah Delta's heart program were very supportive of the affiliation, said Harry Lively, M.D., chief of medical staff at Kaweah Delta.

"We have a strong cardiovascular program, and this relationship will help us take it to the next level," Dr. Lively said. "The best get better by collaborating and learning from each other. Collaborating with a proven national performer will accelerate our progress toward having a world class heart program here in Visalia to benefit people throughout the region."

Jeffrey Rich, MD, chairman of strategic operations at Cleveland Clinic's Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute, said the affiliation will elevate care for patients in the Central Valley.

"Our affiliation will give Kaweah Delta access to the best practices, which will further strengthen their cardiac care," Dr. Rich said. "Treating patients with cardiovascular disease is complex. Our affiliation with Kaweah Delta will advance heart care in Tulare County."

The formal affiliation will be beneficial in a variety of ways, said Regina Sawyer, D.N.P., vice president and chief nursing officer at Kaweah Delta. "It has truly been rewarding working with the Cleveland Clinic physicians and staff over the past three years. I look forward to renewed energy and to our continued partnership through formal affiliation."

Benefits of the affiliation to Kaweah Delta patients and doctors include access to new treatments and technologies, opportunities to collaborate with Cleveland Clinic in medical research, sharing of care pathways, quality processes, outcomes data analysis and medical education opportunities, Herbst said.

"Collaboration and partnership is one of Kaweah Delta's founding principles, and this relationship with Cleveland Clinic further demonstrates the value of that philosophy," he added. "The way forward in health care is through alliances that enable sharing of resources, knowledge and skills."


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