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Hershey Med, Holy Spirit team up on heart surgeries

By - Last modified: December 12, 2012 at 4:35 PM

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Holy Spirit Cardiovascular Institute and Penn State Hershey Heart and Vascular Institute announced today that they have signed a collaborative agreement to have Hershey physicians provide cardiothoracic surgery at The Ortenzio Heart Center at Holy Spirit.

Dr. Joseph A. Torchia, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Holy Spirit, said both institutions have been looking for ways to collaborate. And, he said, "We had a physician who left our employ recently, and we looked around to see what would be the best way to fill that gap with the expertise."

The institutes said Drs. Vincent Park and John Pennock from Holy Spirit will be joined by Drs. David Campbell, Michael Lazar, Walter Pae, Michael Reed, Behzad Soleimani and Edward Stephenson from Hershey.

The agreement will allow Holy Spirit to expand the types of heart surgeries it offers, including mitral valve replacements and robotic-assisted thoracic surgery. However, Torchia said, for some procedures such as heart transplants, Holy Spirit will continue to send patients to Hershey.

"As an academic health center, we are eager to partner with a strong community hospital and health system like Holy Spirit that is nationally recognized for the quality of its cardiac program," said Robin Wittenstein, chief operating officer of Penn State Hershey Health System.

"This collaboration will enable our two systems to optimize our facilities and expertise to ensure that no one from Central Pennsylvania needs to leave the region to access cutting-edge care and research related to heart and thoracic surgery."

Holy Spirit Hospital is designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care and holds the Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval for health care quality for its heart attack care.

Penn State Hershey Heart and Vascular Institute has a team of more than 50 physicians and surgeons and a portfolio of clinical trials supported by approximately $10 million in research funding this year.

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer covers Lancaster County, nonprofits, education and health care. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at heathers@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter, @StaufferCPBJ.

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