BJC Collaborative fosters clinical agreement with CoxHealth

St. Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH) and Washington University School of Medicine  have entered into an agreement with CoxHealth in Springfield, Mo., to provide pediatric urology and general surgery clinic and outpatient services on an ongoing basis. CoxHealth is the only locally owned, not-for-profit health system based in Springfield, and it serves more than 900,000 people in a 25-county service area in southwest Missouri and northwest

Douglas Coplen, MD, Washington University pediatric urologist and director of pediatric urology at SLCH, visits CoxHealth every other Monday. “Prior to this agreement, there were no pediatric urology services available in Springfield. Patients would have to travel to either St. Louis or Kansas City, whether it was for a clinic visit or for outpatient or inpatient surgery,” he says. “Now these children have local access to the care and outpatient treatment they need.”

In addition, a family nurse practitioner with Children’s pediatric urology will be on-site at CoxHealth to see patients with urinary incontinence and recurrent urinary tract infections in collaboration with Dr. Coplen.

The three pediatric general surgeons from SLCH who visit CoxHealth twice a month on a rotating basis are Brad Warner, MD, SLCH surgeon-in-chief and the Jessie L. Ternberg, MD, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Pediatric Surgery, and division director of pediatric surgery at Washington University School of Medicine; Martin Keller, MD, Washington University pediatric surgeon and medical director of trauma at SLCH; and Adam Vogel, MD, Washington University pediatric surgeon at SLCH.

“Our focus is outpatient general surgery and serving as consultants for pediatric surgical issues in the CoxHealth newborn intensive care unit,” says Dr. Warner. “For newborns, we will be able to do many procedures on site, such as central line or feeding tube insertions. In addition, we will be able to quickly identify more complex conditions that could require the specialists and advanced technology available at St. Louis Children's Hospital. Our goal is to provide the best care in the most appropriate setting, depending on the child's condition.”

Another benefit for patients needing inpatient urology or general surgery is that pre-operative and post-operative clinic visits can be done at CoxHealth, saving families from having to make multiple trips to St. Louis.  

“A future additional opportunity is helping CoxHealth develop its pediatric surgical program and trauma coverage,” says Dr. Warner. “There is the potential to recruit additional pediatric surgical faculty with close ties to Children’s. This collaborative agreement between Children’s and CoxHealth has great potential for improving the care of children in Springfield and throughout the health system’s extensive service area.”

The new relationship between SLCH and CoxHealth developed through the BJC Collaborative, which was formed in October 2012 by BJC, CoxHealth, Memorial Health System in Springfield, Ill., and Saint Luke’s Health System in Kansas City, Mo. The Collaborative expanded in 2013 with the addition of Blessing Health System in Quincy, Ill., and Southern Illinois Healthcare in Carbondale, Ill.

“The Collaborative provides a means of facilitating the exploration and ultimately, the implementation and expansion of  clinical programs and services between and among the Collaborative members to improve access to and quality of health care for patients,” says Sandra Van Trease, BJC group president who provides strategic leadership for the Collaborative. “This new agreement among Children’s, Washington University and CoxHealth is an excellent example of how Collaborative members are working together to enhance the care and convenience for patients in their local communities.”