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Porter hospital joining forces with Loyola

Porter Health Care System CEO Jonathan Nalli left shakes hands with David Hecht senior vice president for clinical affairs chief

Porter Health Care System CEO Jonathan Nalli, left, shakes hands with David Hecht, senior vice president for clinical affairs and chief medical officer fo Loyola University following a press conference in Valparaiso, Ind. Monday Mar. 18, 2013. Porter and Loyola Health System announced a clinical affiliation designed to expand access to academic research and clinical care in Northwest Indiana. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 29, 2013 4:00PM



VALPARAISO — Porter Regional Hospital announced Monday it has formed a clinical partnership with Loyola University Health System of Chicago.

“We felt it was an opportunity to bring in leading clinical trials,” particularly in oncology care, given Porter’s new Cancer Care Center, said Jonathan Nalli, Porter’s chief executive officer.

The new hospital opened about seven months ago, and the partnership expands Porter’s reach, Nalli said.

In addition to participation in clinical trials sponsored by Loyola, the arrangement will offer Porter patients telemedicine 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including diagnostics through X-rays and other methods, said David Hecht, Loyola’s senior vice president for clinical affairs and chief medical officer.

The relationship also will include cardiac care and other specialties.

“If it’s necessary that they have to go somewhere (for additional treatment), we will be able to figure that out very quickly,” Hecht said.

Officials from the two hospitals began discussing joining forces in January 2012, and the relationship came to fruition about a month ago. Loyola has similar arrangements with other hospitals in Illinois.

Clinical trials will be conducted at Porter, overseen by doctors at Loyola but with a study nurse on-site at Porter to make sure trial protocols are properly followed, Hecht said.

Loyola could eventually establish a clinic at Porter and it could grow on an ad hoc basis, “but a lot of these things can be done remotely, too,” Hecht said.

Up until the partnership started, Nalli said patients had access to doctors in clinics across the country. The relationship with Loyola provides a more formal arrangement.

“What you have is a larger, more open communication conduit,” Nalli said, providing for more information sharing and better patient care.

Most of the services offered through Loyola will be available at Porter’s main campus, but the agreement includes all of its locations, including the hospital in Portage and the hospital system’s seven clinics located throughout the region.

“It’s going to be about the relationship and not bricks and mortar,” Hecht said.



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