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By: Dr. Jacob Davtyan, Emory cardiothoracic surgeon and medical director of cardiothoracic surgery at St. Francis
This week, we mark the one-year anniversary of the launch of St. Francis – Emory Healthcare. When Emory Healthcare and LifePoint Health announced the formation of a joint venture with St. Francis Hospital as its first facility, we celebrated this next step as the natural evolution of a collaboration between St. Francis and Emory Healthcare that began more than 15 years ago.
In 2003, Emory and St. Francis began a cardiac services affiliation that aligned St. Francis’ electrophysiology program with Emory’s program, and today, St. Francis is still the only hospital in the region to provide electrophysiology services. A little over a decade later, in 2016, the heart and general thoracic service line was further strengthened when Emory began to manage the hospital’s cardiothoracic surgery services. Through this clinical partnership with Emory, St. Francis advanced its cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery program with additional surgeons, resources and clinical training and extended electrophysiology coverage. These critical steps expanded on St. Francis’ capabilities as the region’s only hospital providing open-heart surgery.
I was excited to join the medical staff at St. Francis at the onset of our clinical partnership in 2016, and I am proud to see the continued advancement and expansion of our cardiothoracic surgery program over the last five years. Emory and LifePoint knew that a joint venture would enable us to further enhance access to and delivery of high-quality, cost-effective care; improve the health of people in Columbus, Ga., and surrounding communities; and strengthen the regional benefits of Emory’s health care expertise for our patients throughout the Chattahoochee Valley.
This fall, St. Francis launched a structural heart program and expanded access to heart valve procedures for our patients. Soon after, interventional cardiologist Dr. Akram Ibrahim performed our first successful Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure with a team of physicians that included Emory cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Robert Guyton, Emory interventional cardiologist Dr. Chandan Devireddy, and myself. We are the first and the only program in the Chattahoochee Valley to offer this minimally invasive interventional procedure.
These are just a few examples of how this partnership is already serving the people of Columbus, GA and the surrounding communities. These accomplishments are more meaningful because they were in the midst of a months-long battle on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. None of this would have been possible without our incredible team of caregivers at St. Francis.
As we celebrate our first year as one team, I look forward to the future and know we will continue to accomplish great things together as we advance our shared mission of Making Communities Healthier.