An alliance has been established between Craig Hospital and Shepherd Center that will pave the way for a “center of excellence,” designed to address catastrophic injury rehabilitation, long-term acute care, and medical care. A news release issued by both hospitals notes that the alliance makes way for new opportunities to advance patient care, improve patient access to top-tier rehabilitation services, and share best practices with a broad range of healthcare partners.

Gary Ulicny, PhD, Shepherd Center’s president and CEO, explains, “This alliance gives us broader geographic coverage and a more national focus. From a business standpoint, it also helps create better linkages with employers and their health plans, national health plans, workers’ compensation carriers, hospital networks, and clinically integrated networks seeking post-acute care partnerships. ”

Ulicny adds that many emerging health networks are not equipped to provide, or cannot afford to develop, this type of rehabilitation care. Designated centers of excellences can provide intensive, specialized care, Ulicny says.

A key part of the joint effort, the release reports, will build upon strategies intended to engage and educate patients and families throughout the rehabilitation process, allowing them to be better equipped with the skills and knowledge to pinpoint and address issues at home following discharge.

Mike Fordyce, president and CEO, Craig Hospital, emphasizes that since these are life-long conditions, “This approach can ultimately help prevent re-hospitalizations and give patients and families greater confidence when returning home.”

Additionally, the alliance will use existing resources, such as Craig’s Nurse Advice Line call center and Shepherd Center’s Transition Support Program, to facilitate new portable resources (through mobile apps and web-based access) to help patients and families stay connected.

The release states that as centers of excellence, Craig and Shepherd Center plan to forge new affiliations with other providers in order to strengthen the continuum of care, reduce complications, and help patients find primary and specialty outpatient care in their own communities, as needed.

The two hospitals have always had close ties, according to Fordyce, and, “This new alliance is focused on enhancing patient outcomes and capturing operational efficiencies that will assist us in continuing to set the bar for rehabilitation for those affected by catastrophic spinal cord and brain injuries.”

The alliance will also help springboard research opportunities and an integrated education program designed to train providers within trauma centers, other rehabilitation facilities, long-term acute care hospitals, home health agencies, health plans, and workers’ compensation programs regarding best practices for spinal cord and brain injury recovery.

Fordyce notes that while Craig and Shepherd Center remain independent, freestanding institutions, the new alliance will allow the hospitals to offer standardized care and remain competitive within a changing healthcare environment.

[Source(s): Craig Hospital, Shepherd Center]