Tuesday, January 23, 2001

Hospitals divvy up pediatric care

No longer competitors in Middletown

By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MIDDLETOWN Three hospitals, spanning a market from Dayton to Cincinnati, have launched a joint venture to expand pediatric specialty care in Middletown.

        The venture, dubbed Pediatric Connection, has established offices at Middletown Regional Hospital for patients to see pediatric pulmonologists, cardiologists and urologists rather than require families to travel to Cincinnati or Dayton.

        The venture, jointly sponsored by Middletown Regional Hospital, Children's Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati and Children's Medical Center of Dayton, reflects the growing service needs of suburbs springing up between Dayton and Cincinnati.

        “Our three organizations gathered with leaders from throughout our community to determine what services we needed,” said Douglas McNeill, president and chief executive of Middletown Regional. “Together, we redefined our vision for child health services in our Mid-Miami Valley region.”

        Pediatric Connection will involve doctors in several pediatric specialties visiting Middletown once a month to see patients. The doctors will work from offices in Middletown Regional's recently expanded Maternal Child Health Center.

        In addition to the three specialty groups already involved, the program plans to add neurology and gastroenterology services this year. As the region grows, plans include adding pediatricians to work in emergency care and neonatal care, Mr. McNeill said.

        The cooperative arrangement was important because it avoided the chance that all three nonprofit hospitals would spend money on competing facilities, Mr. McNeill said.

        For Cincinnati's Children's Hos pital — ranked among the nation's top pediatric hospitals — the Middletown deal continues an effort to send more specialists farther into the region.

        In 1996, neonatologists at Children's Hospital took over management of neonatal care at TriHealth's Good Samaritan and Bethesda North hospitals.

        That year, the hospital agreed to supply more pediatricians to work in emergency departments at St. Elizabeth Medical Center's three hospitals in Northern Kentucky.


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