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Niswonger, Ohio hospital team up to provide more care

Madison Mathews • Dec 7, 2012 at 10:09 PM

The next time Beth and Buddy Arnold need the expertise of the physicians at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio for their son, Samuel, they’ll be able to get that care without having to travel out of the region.

Niswonger Children’s Hospital officials announced Friday a new affiliation with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital that will give local patients access to the Ohio-based facility’s specialized services.

“Our doctors didn’t think Samuel would live to be a year old and because of the partnership between Cincinnati and Niswonger Children’s Hospital, we’re glad to say he’s 8 and doing well,” Beth Arnold said.

While Niswonger, located at Johnson City Medical Center, has been working with Cincinnati Children’s in an informal capacity over the past few years, the official announcement means a lot to the Arnolds, who have been traveling back and forth from Johnson City to Cincinnati ever since their son was born.

Beth Arnold said the affiliation will bring the expertise, care and technology they have come to expect from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, which is touted as one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals, to the services they already receive at Niswonger.

“With this resource in place, we’re going to be able to have the information and the technology and the expertise of those Cincinnati physicians partnering with the Niswonger people who know and love Samuel and are so invested in him, allowing us to be here at home where we’ll have the support that we need with the world-class technology and all of the information right there available for us. It’s the best of both worlds,” she said.

The affiliation with Cincinnati will provide a hospitalist program, created in collaboration with East Tennessee State University’s James H. Quillen College of Medicine, which is designed to improve quality and devote dedicated resources to hospitalized patients. The partnership also will offer new subspecialities in pediatric neurology.

“The real goal of the affiliation between Niswonger Children’s Hospital and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, bottom line, is to keep children close to home more than we’ve even been able to do with the advent of the Niswonger Children’s Hospital,” Mountain States Health Alliance President and CEO Dennis Vonderfecht said.

Keeping patients close to home is an integral part of health care, Vonderfecht said, and it’s particularly important when it comes to pediatrics.

“With children, obviously, you have parents and family members that often times have to travel long distance to receive care and certainly anything that we can do to provide that care close to home so that parents don’t have to have those long travels,” he said.

Dr. Arnold W. Strauss, director of the Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation, said the affiliation with Niswonger gives Cincinnati Children’s Hospital an opportunity to broaden the care they provide for children in this region.

“We’re really pleased to have this partnership ... and we hope it’s the beginning of more work together with the simple goal of improving child health for the children in this area and improving the care of those patients here,” he said.

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