ESCANABA - OSF HealthCare announced Friday it has become the newest member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network.
"This is not a merger, this is not an acquisition; this is a collaboration, and it really is geared to bring access into the communities," said president and CEO for OSF St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group Dave Lord.
Joining the Mayo Clinic Care Network allows OSF to access a variety of resources including the Ask Mayo Expert database which is continually updated with the latest research and treatment information.
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Kim Johnson, D.O., lead physician trainer for the Mayo Clinic Care Network at OSF St. Francis Hospital in Escanaba, logs into the new Ask Mayo Expert database.
"We can pull up Ask Mayo Expert and put in questions, research different topics, and get the most up to date and concise information about a specific topic," said Dr. Kim Johnson, OB/GYN with the OSF St. Francis Women's Center and lead physician trainer for the network at OSF.
All clinicians - nurses and physicians - have access to the Ask Mayo Expert database. Physicians can also contact a Mayo Clinic specialist directly or conduct a virtual consultation with a specialist.
"The addition of the e-consultation service will allow physicians - starting first with our specialty groups - to consult with Mayo physicians electronically so that our patients don't have to leave this community for second opinions, an additional opinion, or advice," said Johnson.
The eConsults will first be available to physicians with specialties in oncology, neurology and neurosurgery, GI, and cardiovascular. After the first phase of the eConsults introduction, other physicians will be granted access to the tool.
Patients will not be charged extra for the services provided through the Mayo Clinic Care Network, even when eConsults are performed.
"There is no billing component to that. You're not going to be billed separately from Mayo clinic for access into this or access to this specialist," said Lord.
The ability to have additional input or second opinions from the Mayo Clinic does not affect the relationships with other hospitals in the area or in any way require that patients be referred to Mayo Clinic hospitals.
"There's no requirement for referrals go to Mayo as part of this relationship and we're going to continue to work with all of our original providers ... the goal is to keep people in their communities," said Lord.
OSF St. Francis Hospital in Escanaba is the first Upper Peninsula hospital to join the Mayo Clinic Care Network.
"This relationship will bring a new level of healthcare knowledge and expertise to our patients, our physicians and communities in Illinois as well as upper Michigan," Kathleen Forbes, chief medical officer and chief clinical officer for OSF Healthcare Systems, said during Friday's teleconference with OSF staff announcing the partnership.
More information about the partnership is available online at www.osfhealthcare.org/mayo