When I arrived at LVMC in 1980, the primary referral hospital for services not provided locally was, and continues to be, Cottage Health. Our respective administrative and medical staffs have worked closely over the past two decades to develop a professional relationship based on trust and mutual respect. Two recent examples are the collaboration LVMC has with Cottage Health to provide immediate access to neurology consults, via tele-neurology, which is a necessary and critical component of LVMC’s stroke program and our acute heart attack program (called STEMI) which enables us to quickly transport patients needing cardiac catheterization to Cottage Health.
Additionally, LVMC physicians who provide hospital medicine services have worked closely with Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital’s Graduate Medical Education program to provide a rural experience at LVMC for its physicians. We have also fostered an efficient and effective transfer process for any baby born at LVMC that needs Neonatal Intensive Care services. LVMC is currently investigating access to telemedicine consultations in our Critical Care Unit.
We want our community to find comfort in knowing that LVMC is the gateway for all healthcare needs -- regardless of whether we provide those services locally or have relationships with other facilities, like Cottage, USC or UCLA. It does not matter if a hernia repair or a heart transplant is needed, LVMC has a network developed to provide the required care.
I recently met with Cottage Health CEO Mr. Ron Werft to discuss LVMC’s desire to educate our community about the benefits of this relationship. He was fully supportive and we both acknowledged the need to draft a mutually acceptable document that would explain the collaboration already in place, such as our stroke program and future collaborative opportunities. In June, the LVMC Board unanimously approved a “Collaboration Agreement between LVMC and Cottage Health,” outlining the services and criteria for community outreach.
This agreement is an important step in reinforcing the ever-expanding scope of high quality services either provided, or facilitated, by Lompoc Valley Medical Center.