LEXINGTON, Ky.—UK HealthCare plans to take over management of nearby Eastern State Hospital, a psychiatric facility. The University of Kentucky system signed a letter of intent with the state's Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The transition will follow Eastern State's relocation to a new $129 million campus, which is expected to be completed this spring. The agency pointed in a news release to a number of similar deals in other states, including Arkansas and the University of Arkansas, Connecticut and Yale University and New York and Columbia University. Gov. Steve Beshear added in the release that the agreement “demonstrates our commitment to modernizing our behavioral-health treatment capacity” by creating a stronger link between behavioral and physical healthcare. As part of the agreement, UK will measure performance and outcomes at the 197-bed facility, such as improving patient care during hospitalization, providing continuity of care after patients are discharged and increasing the number of people who can live in the community. The deal also allows more opportunities for UK to conduct research on diagnosing, treating and preventing behavioral health disorders, the release said. The Bluegrass Regional Mental Health Board has overseen Eastern State since 1995. UK will take over management of the hospital over the summer, following a 60- to 90-day transition.
CHESTERTOWN, Md.—Chester River Health System and Shore Health System, two not-for-profit health systems under the University of Maryland Medical System, plan to merge into a single organization with one governance structure, effective July 1. Ken Kozel, president and CEO of Easton, Md.-based Shore Health, will serve as president and CEO of the new system, while Jim Ross, the current president and CEO at Chester River, will continue to serve in those roles until the merger is final. Baltimore-based University of Maryland Medical System has approved the plans. No financial terms of the merger were disclosed, and a name for the new system will be determined on or before July 1, a spokeswoman said. A joint announcement said the new system's middle-management team will be determined by January 2014. The merged system will operate hospitals in Cambridge, Chestertown and Easton, Md., as well as a free-standing emergency center and adjacent medical pavilion in Queenstown; a nursing and rehabilitation center in Chestertown; outpatient services and diagnostic centers in Cambridge, Centreville, Chestertown, Denton and Easton; and home-care and hospice services throughout the area. According to the announcement, the decision to merge was made after a study committee composed of board members and administrative leaders from both health systems reviewed the population needs in Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Talbot and Queen Anne counties. The new system, the organizations said, will be positioned to address the challenges that stem from delivering healthcare in rural areas, such as provider shortages, a lack of specialty care and an aging population with chronic conditions.
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.—Products providing more comfort to patients in awkward examination and intensive-care settings are some of the first fruits coming out of the Wake Forest Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative. Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center launched the division in December as part of an effort to generate more revenue from its academic and clinical research. One prototype involves a device that allows for an easier exchange of an endotracheal tube for intensive-care patients. Another prototype is for a foam device that fits over the ears to reduce the decibel levels for patients while in an MRI scanner. The two devices will be aimed initially at Wake Forest Baptist patients, said Eric Tomlinson, the hospital's chief innovation officer who doubles as president of Piedmont Triad Research Park. “If we can see a larger opportunity for commercialization, then we will surely go down that path,” Tomlinson said. Researchers also are nearly ready to debut a tracking system that collects and stores data about radiation protective devices. “The prevailing mindset for faculty for decades has been publish or perish,” Tomlinson said. “That has been supplanted by the need for faculty to be scholars and innovators, to bring products and services to patients quicker and to commercialize and monetize their innovations.”