Michael D. Aubin, president of Wolfson Children’s Hospital of Jacksonville; Victor Morell, MD, chief, Division of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh; and Michael S. Shillingford, MD, chief of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Terry Heart Center at Wolfson Children’s Hospital of Jacksonville, announced a new affiliation agreement today. This collaboration is designed to enhance and expand specialized pediatric health cardiac care for children in the North Florida/South Georgia region, as well as the entire Southeastern United States.
This new affiliation agreement became effective December 15, 2018.
“For decades, our Terry Heart Center at Wolfson Children’s Hospital of Jacksonville has served children with congenital heart disease from throughout the region, and has patient outcomes that are equal to or better than the national benchmarks tracked by the Society for Thoracic Surgeons (STS),” said Aubin. “With the growing population in North Florida, South Georgia and southern Alabama, as well as ever-advancing heart diagnostic capabilities, we are diagnosing and treating a higher incidence of congenital heart disease among the nearly one million children who live in the region we serve.
“We recognized that we needed additional pediatric cardiac surgery resources and expertise to make our care even better. That’s why we chose to become a member of UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Heart Institute Network.”
Wolfson Children’s Hospital is the second member of the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Heart Institute network, joining St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa. The network is led by Dr. Morell, also the co-director of the Heart Institute at UPMC Children's Hospital.
“We are grateful to partner with Wolfson Children’s Hospital of Jacksonville to help establish an even higher level of cardiac care in the area, which will lead to improved outcomes for children with congenital heart disease,” said Dr. Morell, also surgeon-in-chief, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. “We will be an extension to the surgical team to offer life-saving cardiac treatment options for families in Florida and to help these kids achieve a better and brighter quality of life.”
In addition to collaborating with Wolfson Children’s Hospital’s cardiac team to provide cardiothoracic surgery services, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Heart Institute experts are providing support to patients, families and caregivers in Wolfson Children’s Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit via telemedicine. UPMC Children's is a leader in the development of telemedicine services to meet the needs of young patients regionally and around the world with videoconferencing technologies that provide complex pediatric cardiac care through remote and virtual examinations — whenever and wherever expertise is needed.
Dr. Shillingford said: “The Heart Institute at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is an outstanding, high-volume center that is recognized nationally for treating some of the most complex cardiac surgery cases in the country and the world. In fact, they are among the top children’s hospitals in the country and ranked No. 6 among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals for pediatric cardiology and heart surgery.
“Likewise, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh recognizes the value of a partnership with the Terry Heart Center at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, which has great outcomes and is recognized regionally for providing excellence in pediatric heart care. We are bringing our wonderful, diverse and growing Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia demographic into the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Heart Institute Network. This allows us to combine our collective 50+ years of heart surgery experience and expertise, as well as scientific and outcomes-based pediatric heart research, for the benefit of generations of families to come.”