Children’s hospital program reaches into Union

MONROE – Charlotte’s Levine Children’s Hospital is bringing pediatric expertise to Carolinas Medical Center-Union for inpatient care.

Four Levine Children’s Hospital hospitalists – physicians who specialize and provide 24-hour inpatient care – started offering services at CMC-Union on Sept. 9. They’ll provide the same level of care, clinical practices and protocols patients typically receive at the Charlotte children’s hospital, arranging treatments, writing prescriptions and scheduling follow-up care for patients before they are discharged.

Dr. Leonard Feld, chief medical officer of Levine Children’s Hospital, said not only is the new program a great benefit to children and families but, by working rotations, the staff maintains the highest level of expertise and skill set.

“We think this level of care is needed” in Union County, he said

Michael Lutes, president of CMC-Union, said the partnership between the Monroe campus and Charlotte children’s hospital “… ensures patients will receive the same quality of care without leaving Union County.” That can be a vital help for parents who can’t afford to make the trips back and forth to uptown Charlotte with their child.

Lutes said the collaboration has been in discussion for the past year. To have the project come together is very exciting.

“I think we’ve realized a need to keep health care local,” Lutes said, adding they wanted to provide seamless care between Levine Children’s Hospital and CMC-Union.  The combination allows pediatric services to be expanded locally and also allows Levine to continue to be a regional and national leader in children’s hospitals, hospital officials said.

“We feel we are a clinical leader,” Feld said. “These types of collaborations are wonderful within our system.”

Dr. James High, medical director of the Levine Children’s Hospital Hospitalist Program, said patients will see the same level of care, support and dedicated staff at CMC-Union as they are used to at Levine’s, while overall efficiency will improve because procedures and protocols are the same at both locations, allowing for quicker admittance and increased communication.

Following the same framework used at Levine’s also provides children with seamless medical care when pulling up records and trying to decide if a child needs a higher level of care, High said.

According to a statement released by Carolinas Healthcare System, “With hospitalists in place, lower acuity patients can stay close to home for hospital care, while the sickest children receive care at Levine Children’s Hospital.”

“I think that all of the community providers that take care of pediatric patients are thrilled about this program,” said Dr. Renu Doshi, a community pediatrician at Waxhaw Pediatrics. “… Having the pediatric hospitalist present 24/7 is an amazing thing for our families. It allows us to have our families stay within the area. Transportation can sometimes be challenging, so this is going to allow us to keep our patients within Union County.”

Doshi feels the program will not only be a benefit to families, but also will help local health care providers in their work, as they’ll know patients will have the same level of care from Levine. Being able to communicate with the hospitalists and Levine is “ … going to be fabulous,” Doshi said. “If there are any issues or concerns, they will be a phone call away. We can call on the phone and consult a sub-specialist.”

The hospitalist program is, according to Lutes, part of “… larger visions we have with CMC.” Carolinas HealthCare System is currently investing in a $57 million expansion project that will include a new technologically advanced women’s and children’s center with a larger, renovated pediatric unit.

CMC-Union is located at 600 Hospital Drive.

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