Three Kentucky healthcare providers are working together to improve heart care in Appalachia. The partnership should mean fewer patient trips to Lexington. The collaboration involves Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Appalachian Heart Center, and the University of Kentucky’s Gill Heart Institute. UK Vice President of Health Affairs Michael Karpf says more cardiologists will be going to the Hazard area.
“Set up a sort of regional referral center at A-R-H where they can get more extensive care including by-pass surgery and vascular surgery and then also set up UK Healthcare in Lexington as the backup for those kind of procedures that can’t be done even in an outstanding community hospital,” said Karpf.
UK Assistant Professor of Surgery Edward Setser says heart disease is prevalent in eastern Kentucky, but often not diagnosed early on. The cardiothoracic surgeon sees the combining of cardiologist groups.
“Instead of having two or three different entities or four separate cardiology groups, separate independent cardiologists, out all trying to do the same thing, one group is able to do that more efficiently and to serve that area more efficiently,” added Setser.
The agreement, announced today, covers six hospitals in areas such as Hazard, Whitesburg, Harlan, and Williamson West Virginia.