Lawrence Memorial Hospital officials agreed to a deal Wednesday that would significantly increase the hospital's ability to provide care to patients with heart problems by early next year.
The LMH board of trustees approved an agreement with Kansas City, Mo.-based Cardiovascular Consultants to begin offering angioplasty procedures and other interventional cardiology services at the hospital.
Gene Meyer, LMH president and chief executive, said the agreement could allow the hospital to begin performing the surgical procedure by February. Currently, there's no facility in Lawrence that provides angioplasty, which is an increasingly common way to open clogged arteries. Patients who need the procedure have to travel to hospitals in Kansas City and Topeka.
Reducing the number of patients who leave the community to receive health services has been a major financial strategy for the hospital in recent years.
"We think this is a very positive deal because we always want to provide as many services as we can here at home," Meyer said.
Meyer said cardiovascular care was one of the prime services that patients were leaving the community to receive. He said the five-year agreement with the Kansas City company would produce positive financial results for the nonprofit hospital.
Revenue projections haven't yet been made, but Meyer said he expected the department to serve about 200 people in its first year.
The hospital will pay Cardiovascular Consultants $60,000 a year to provide management, medical and administrative services to the department.
Cardiovascular Consultants has had a Lawrence office since 1993. It currently has four physicians -- Michael Zabel, John Hiebert, Stephanie Lawhorn and Michael Hajdu -- at its offices at 330 Ark. Meyer said the agreement would add at least one new doctor to the office.
LMH officials also had considered a proposal from the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., to provide the cardiovascular services. Meyer said that proposal was impressive but the board chose to go with Cardiovascular Consultants, in large part, because the company had an existing base of Lawrence customers and had developed strong relationships with the LMH medical staff.
The agreement still must receive final approval from Cardiovascular Consultants board of directors, which is scheduled to meet next week. In a prepared statement, Dr. David Steinhaus, medical director for the group, said the group was pleased to have the opportunity to work with LMH.
In addition to its offices in Lawrence, Cardiovascular Consultants manages the Mid America Heart Institute at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.