Centra Health will be working closer with University of Virginia Health by the end of this year to provide smoother transitions and boosted service to transplant patients.
The two providers announced their strategic clinical affiliation July 28, which will affect a few different areas of care.
While Centra has comprehensive hematology and nephrology services, patients needing transplants have needed to travel out of town — many to UVa in Charlottesville — for the procedure itself and multiple appointments surrounding it.
As part of the partnership, UVa experts on kidney transplants and malignant hematology, or blood diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma, will hold regular clinics in Lynchburg for patients and their local caregivers to coordinate treatment.
Centra officials said those clinics will largely serve patients during treatment evaluations and the work-up period leading up to a transplant, then potentially for care after a transplant. The collaboration will provide for seamless transitions of care back to a patient’s Lynchburg-area specialist.
For kidney transplants, a new Lynchburg-based nurse navigator will serve as a care coordinator between UVa’s transplant team and nephrologists who serve patients in Lynchburg, Centra officials said.
The two providers anticipate the clinics, planned to be held once per month at first but likely increasing in frequency to serve patient needs, will improve organ waitlist times, cut transplant wait times and provide “access to cutting edge clinical trials of the most promising new therapeutics” for hematologic malignancies, according to Wednesday’s announcement.
Centra expects to have the clinics running by the fourth quarter of 2021, according to officials. The two providers already have worked collaboratively on high-risk pregnancies, gynecologic oncology, stroke telemedicine and dialysis, and have been discussing the affiliation for about a year.
Part of the new affiliation also encompasses recruiting new specialist physicians with those specialties to work for Centra and participate in joint care conferences. Centra has not yet determined how many new positions that’ll entail.
Leaders from both Centra and UVa have formed a committee to oversee the affiliation, according to the news release.