Valley Health, Winchester Cardiology come to formal agreement

Valley Health and the Winchester Cardiology and Vascular Medicine have agreed to form a closer arrangement after years of working closely together.

Starting May 1, the hospital system and cardiology practice will be collaborating closely together, something that Winchester Cardiology President Trisha Nashed said would help the organization improve care and access to care in the region.

“The relationship or agreement is just a structure where we are affiliating or aligning this group with the hospital so that we can do more initiatives together, we can build advanced cardiac programs together,” Nashed said.

Under the agreement, Valley Health would have shared governance with Winchester Cardiology while employees of Winchester Cardiology would continue to work for the cardiology practice.

While the formal agreement only came recently, the move was years in the making. Grady “Skip” Philips, the vice president for Valley Health and president of Winchester Medical Center, said that the two organizations have worked together for decades.

“This is really just an outgrowth of what is known as a multi-decade relationship and now is being just a little more formalized,” Philips said.

Because the two organizations have worked together for a long time, Nashed said that patients will not notice much of a difference in their care.

But Nashed said that things will be different beneath the surface.

“What will be happening under the surface will be a development of programs and infrastructure to improve access to care, to improve when a patient comes to the [emergency room],” Nashed said.

Over the long term, those programs, Nashed said, could include developing telemedicine programs and other programs “that are difficult to do as silos but are much easier to do when you have an alliance.”

Philips added that the most recent discussions between the organizations have been going on for around a year. During that time period, Winchester Cardiology switched to the same electronic medical records system, Epic, that Valley Health uses.

James Sherwood, vice president of operations at Winchester Medical Center, said that the switch to Epic “allows us to have more exchange of information so we can have better care and more coordinated care.”

Correction: This article has been corrected to reflect the spelling of Grady “Skip” Philips’ last name.