ThedaCare and the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) health network are announcing a partnership that will provide patients with expanded and convenient access to the most advanced levels of specialty care.
The vision of the partnership will elevate care for local communities in Northeast and Central Wisconsin, ensuring patients have access to high-quality, advanced levels of medicine when needed and creating a seamless, integrated connection to pre- and post-care near home.
As part of the partnership, the Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin health network will provide progressive medical care to ThedaCare patients for unique specialty services such as heart and lung transplants and advanced heart failure, with ThedaCare providing care locally before and after.
“The Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network and ThedaCare have a shared commitment to the people of Wisconsin,” said Cathy Jacobson, president and CEO of Froedtert Health. “Enhancing access to the most advanced levels of specialty care through this new partnership supports our missions to improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve.”
The Froedtert & MCW health network will also provide virtual critical care in coordination with ThedaCare providers as part of the partnership. There will be an opportunity to add more specialty services over time based on community need.
“Our patients and community members living in Northeast and Central Wisconsin can expect better health outcomes through expanded, convenient access to coordinated, specialty care close to home,” said Imran A. Andrabi, MD, FAAFP, ThedaCare President & CEO. “Our focus will be on providing seamless care, putting patients and families first, always.”
Increasing Need for Advanced Care, Including Organ Transplant Services
The need for advanced heart and lung care is significant. In 2021, more than 41,000 organ transplants were performed in the United States, an increase of 5.9 percent over 2020, according to preliminary data from United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). According to UNOS, in 2021, organizations and transplant hospitals performed a record 3,817 heart transplants across the country. The demand for advanced care continues to grow as 2021 is also the tenth consecutive year where heart transplant numbers have set a new record. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, making up nearly 25 percent of all cancer deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The Froedtert & MCW Adult Transplant Center is part of Southeastern Wisconsin’s only academic health network, a uniquely qualified resource that expands transplant options for patients throughout the state. Its nationally-recognized physicians and surgeons treat patients with a multidisciplinary and collaborative team approach. One of only two lung transplant centers in Wisconsin, the Transplant Center is renowned for care in both pulmonology and lung surgery, according to U.S. News & World Report 2021-2022. The adult organ programs are certified by Medicare and Medicaid, and kidney, liver, heart and lung transplant programs are designated “Centers of Excellence” by most insurance providers.
According to the American Lung Association, centers that perform lung transplants are located throughout the country, however many people in need of a transplant live a great distance from those locations. This can create additional stress for patients and families who must also find lodging, supplementary financial support, time away from work and more.
“This partnership will enable improved outcomes for the most complex patients cared for by our health systems,” said Joseph Kerschner, MD, Provost & executive vice president, The Julia A. Uihlein, MA, Dean of the MCW School of Medicine. “For example, when a call comes in that an organ has been procured for transplant, the teams must work quickly – often within just a few hours – to provide the best possible outcomes for the patient. Our new partnership will ensure this seamless care for patients throughout the region.”
Through this partnership, transplants can be performed in Froedtert & MCW health network facilities, with the patient returning home for coordinated follow up and supportive care by ThedaCare. Before and following a transplant, patients will have access to providers in their nearby communities to continue coordinated long-term care to maintain their recovery.
Moving Forward Together for Patients
“The seamless transfer of care between our organizations can truly help patients and families in our region,” said Dr. Andrabi. “Collaborative care will already be in place, before a person’s transplant, and through follow up and ongoing care, close to home, with identified providers from organizations continuing to support the patient’s health and well-being.”
This partnership will further ThedaCare’s development of a graduate medical education program, which will enhance patient access to medical and specialty services, and help strengthen the future of health care in Northeast and Central Wisconsin.
Physicians will play key leadership roles in this partnership, as it will be governed by a committee comprised of physicians and leaders from the three organizations.
Patients may begin experiencing coordinated care from ThedaCare and the Froedtert & the MCW health network by the end of 2022.
About the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Health Network
The Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin regional health network is a partnership between Froedtert Health and the Medical College of Wisconsin supporting a shared mission of patient care, innovation, medical research and education. Our health network operates eastern Wisconsin’s only academic medical center and adult Level I Trauma Center at Froedtert Hospital, Milwaukee, an internationally recognized training and research center engaged in thousands of clinical trials and studies. The Froedtert & MCW health network, which includes 11 hospital locations, more than 2,000 physicians and more than 45 health centers and clinics, draws patients from throughout the Midwest and the nation. In our most recent fiscal year, outpatient visits were nearly 1.5 million, inpatient admissions to our hospitals were 55,085 and visits to our network physicians exceeded 1.1 million. For more information, visit froedtert.com.
For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to improving the health and well-being of the communities it serves in Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization delivers care to more than 600,000 residents in 17 counties and employs approximately 7,000 health care professionals. ThedaCare has 180 points of care, including eight hospitals. As an organization committed to being a leader in Population Health, team members are dedicated to empowering people to live their unique, best lives. ThedaCare also partners with communities to understand needs, finding solutions together, and encouraging health awareness and action. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a not-for-profit health system with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs, as well as primary care.