Hospitals team up for hearts
St. Joseph's, GMC bring cardiac services to county

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett Medical Center is partnering with Saint Joseph's Health System to create Gwinnett Cardiovascular Services, an arrangement designed to bring advanced cardiac services - including open heart surgery - to Gwinnett, officials announced Monday.

Monday's development comes just a month before the Georgia Department of Community Health decides if GMC can develop an open heart program on its main campus in Lawrenceville. GMC submitted a Certificate of Need application to the GDCH in January. Hospital officials say Gwinnett is the largest county in the nation that does not have an open heart surgery program.

"When we launched our open heart campaign last October, we looked for ways to create a best-in-class program from day one," GMC president and CEO Phil Wolfe said in a statement. "Collaboration with Saint Joseph's Hospital in Atlanta means that a nationally recognized leader in the provision of open heart surgery and other cardiovascular services will assist Gwinnett Medical Center as we develop similar programs and services here in Gwinnett."

Gwinnett Cardiovascular Services will be jointly owned and managed by GMC and Saint Joseph's Health System, according to a statement released by GMC. Under the agreement, Saint Joseph's - one of Atlanta's oldest hospitals - will provide consultative services, including training and clinical advisory support to GMC's cardiovascular center, which will include open heart surgery services if the GDCH approves GMC's Certificate of Need.

"GMC and the cardiologists who already serve Gwinnett County have longstanding relationships with Saint Joseph's, which is recognized as home to one of the nation's finest cardiovascular programs," Saint Joseph's Health System president and CEO Kirk Wilson said in a statement. "To infuse the expertise that Saint Joseph's offers into a new state-of-the-art open heart program at GMC makes sense from a business standpoint, but more importantly, from a quality of care standpoint for the people of the community."

Saint Joseph's, a 410-bed, acute-care hospital, was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1880.