March 4, 1996
Media Contact: Gary Logan
Phone: (410) 955-5307
Hopkins Takes Over Medical Management of Heart Center
Johns Hopkins has assumed the medical management of the Heart Center of Towson, a freestanding outpatient center where low-risk patients can have cardiac catheterization and heart imaging performed in a homelike environment. The same-day procedures are used to pinpoint problems such as blocked arteries.
Kenneth Baughman, M.D., director of the cardiology division at Johns Hopkins, said the center adds an important point of access to the new Johns Hopkins Cardiovascular Network, which became effective Jan. 1. The network brings together more than 211 cardiologists in 223 locations throughout Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia, who participate with Hopkins in providing cost-effective managed care. The cardiologists are credentialed by Johns Hopkins and may have privileges to perform catheterizations at the facility.
"The Heart Center of Towson provides the Johns Hopkins Cardiovascular Network, its affiliated providers and managed care companies an innovative, low-cost, high-quality option," he said.
Patients at the center are assigned to private rooms where family members or friends can be with them before and after the procedures, which in most cases take less than 30 minutes. Families remain with the patients during a recovery period of only a few hours before discharge. Also, patients get written and video information about their procedures and are told what is being done during each step of the process.
"Realizing that they are receiving the highest quality in diagnostic heart care, our patients, when given the choice, prefer the added benefit of the comfort and convenience of our center," said Bernadette Sowder, director of the center, which is affiliated with the New Orleans-based Cardiovascular Ventures Inc.
Nancy Bray, vice president and director of the office of managed care for Johns Hopkins
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HealthCare LLC, said that Hopkins's new relationship with the center reflects an interest in providing greater access. "We're also lowering the costs because we don't have the overhead associated with a hospital stay," she said, adding that the Johns Hopkins Health System and Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, with 12 cardiovascular procedure rooms, provide acute, high-risk interventional procedures as well as same-day catheterization.
Baughman, who spent much time traveling and meeting with select physicians to determine their interest in joining the network, said he found many "were grateful for the opportunity to talk about managed care and our approach to health care delivery. In some instances, it changed their perception of what Hopkins is and what we're trying to do. Increasingly, we're hearing good things about our access and communications."
The network will meet accreditation standards of the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Hopkins has also created a physician advisory board made up of Hopkins and community physicians to help develop practice criteria, clinical guidelines and utilization and quality control standards.
Unlike many physician networks, Hopkins gives members the resources of an entire medical institution, including staff dedicated to building and servicing their network. Participants have access to practice management services, such as electronic billing and collection services, appointment scheduling and staff recruitment. Benefits include HAL (Hopkins Access Line) for consultations and patient transfers, and access to all computerized information services through Johns Hopkins HealthCare, including lab results reporting, discharge summaries, electronic patient records and library searches. Network members also receive administrative assistance with managed care policies and procedures, including eligibility verification, reimbursement, coverage exclusions and carve-outs.