Friday, November 15, 2013

Babies Receive Advanced Care Sooner Through Fauquier Hospital, UVA Health System Partnership

Dr. Karen Rheuban, director of the Center of Telehealth at the University of Virginia, enjoys the ribbon cutting with Liz Daniels, RN, who was instrumental in bringing the UVA-Fauquier Health partnership to fruition.

Dr. Maria Juanpere, medical director of the Mars Family Special Care Nursery at Fauquier Hospital, watches the University of Virginia portion of Wednesday’s ribbon cutting ceremony. The celebration was held at UVA and in the Family Birthing Center at the same time, and shared via the new telemedicine technology. The program allows neonatal nurse practitioners and physicians at Fauquier Hospital to consult in real time with the expert neonatologists at the University of Virginia.

Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel, center, a strong proponent of the UVA-Fauquier Health Neonatal Telemedicine program, was a special guest at the November 13 ribbon cutting. Sen. Vogel gave birth to four children at Fauquier Health’s Family Birthing Center, and was pleased to be a part of the celebration.

Babies born at Fauquier Hospital can now quickly receive advanced, one-on-one evaluation and care from specialists at University of Virginia Health System(UVA) through a new telemedicine partnership.

The innovative program was celebrated on Wednesday, November 13, at 2 p.m. The ceremony will be held simultaneously at Fauquier Hospital’s Family Birthing Center and UVA’s Center for Telehealth, and connected via the new telemedicine technology. Speakers included: Neonatologist Robert Sinkin, MD, MPH, lead neonatologist in the UVA - Fauquier NICU Telemedicine Program; Linda Sharkey, RN, Fauquier Hospital’s vice president for Patient Care Services, Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel; Karen Rheuban, MD, director of the UVA Center of Telehealth, medical director of the Office of Telemedicine, and associate dean for Continuing Medical Education; and James Nataro, MD, PhD, MBA, chairman of the UVA Department of Pediatrics.

Supported by UVA’s Center for Telehealth, the first neonatal telemedicine program in Virginia provides secure video, audio and data links between Fauquier Hospital’s Family Birthing Center and UVA’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). With the telemedicine program, Fauquier Hospital newborns and clinicians now have around-the-clock access to board-certified UVA neonatologists who specialize in caring for very small or ill infants.

“For infants born at Fauquier Hospital who need advanced care, this partnership will ensure they are evaluated and treated as soon as possible,” said Linda Sharkey, Fauquier Health’s vice president for patient care.

The telemedicine program will also help UVA neonatologists more quickly determine which infants need to be transferred to UVA’s 45-bed NICU and which newborns can be cared for at Fauquier.

“We know how important it is for parents and newborns to remain close to home whenever possible,” said Robert Sinkin, M.D., division head of neonatology at UVA. “This will help newborns and their families in the Warrenton area get as much of their care as possible near home while providing them with easy access to the specialized care we provide at UVA.”

Fauquier Hospital joins UVA Center for Telehealth’s network of more than 85 telemedicine sites across Virginia that help thousands of Virginians access specialty care not available in their home communities. “We’re pleased to help expand access to neonatology care in the Warrenton area,” said Karen Rheuban, MD, director of the UVA Center for Telehealth.

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