HMHP and Akron Children's Hospital signed a 10-year deal.
YOUNGSTOWN -- A 10-year agreement signed by Humility of Mary Health Partners to bring medical professionals from Akron Children's Hospital to enhance pediatric services in the Mahoning Valley has executives from both organizations beaming.
The heads of Akron Children's and HMHP announced the 10-year agreement Tuesday with options to renew.
Beginning in July, Akron Children's will offer select pediatric services not available in the region, and be based out of HMHP's St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown, officials with the two hospitals said.
"As the region's only Level 1 pediatric trauma center, this agreement offers St. Elizabeth a significant opportunity to improve the level of specialty pediatric services in the Valley," said Robert Shroder, HMHP's president and chief executive officer.
The new services include pediatric electrophysiology for children with irregular heart rhythms, fetal echocardiography to identify or confirm abnormalities of an unborn baby's heart, ligations to correct blood flow to the lungs of newborns and an adult congenital heart clinic.
Pediatric orthopedic surgery will be added in the fall, and pediatric general surgery and urology will be included in two years.
"We are expanding pediatric services in the Valley so children don't have to go to Cleveland, Pittsburgh or Akron," Shroder said.
William Considine, Akron Children's president and chief executive officer, said his hospital takes care of numerous children from the Valley. By expanding services at St. Elizabeth, he said, Valley families won't have to travel far for treatment.
When asked about the impact these additions would have on Tod Children's Hospital in the Valley, Shroder said it complements what's offered medically to Valley children and will allow local patients to receive care in this area.
"Where there are needs not being met, we step forward," added Considine. "We view our services as complementary to what is provided in this area."
But Dr. Eugene Mowad, Tod's interim chairman of pediatrics and adolescent medicine, doesn't see it that way.
Some services touted by HMHP and Akron Children's, such as fetal echocardiography, are available at Tod, while pediatric orthopedic surgery will be offered at Tod in August when a new surgeon starts, Dr. Mowad said.
As for ligations and electrophysiology, there is a very low demand in the Valley, Dr. Mowad said. Children needing those services are referred to Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland.
"With such a low volume, we decided those services are best managed in the hands of people who do them all the time" at Rainbow, Dr. Mowad said.
The initiative announced Tuesday increases Akron Children's presence in the Mahoning Valley.
The hospital opened an office in 2002 in Boardman that provides heart services to children. The hospital expanded its services last year to include pediatric urology, orthopedics and pulmonary care.