PeaceHealth, OHSU team to bolster neonatal care in region

Specialists from Portland to staff Vancouver hospital

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter

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PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center and Oregon Health & Science University are joining forces to enhance neonatal care in Southwest Washington.

Beginning March 1, board-certified neonatologists from OHSU’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital will staff the Vancouver hospital’s Holtzman Twins Neonatal Intensive Care Unit around the clock. The collaboration will be headed by Dr. Robert Schelonka, head of the division of neonatology at Doernbecher and an associate professor at OHSU’s School of Medicine.

The partnership will address the need for acute neonatology care at PeaceHealth Southwest, Schelonka said in a news release.

“Building on the existing efforts of their neonatal team, we will enhance and broaden clinical services and capabilities to provide comprehensive, quality, safe, timely and family centered neonatal care for families in their home community whenever possible,” he said.

The two hospitals will also share resources to enhance quality and reduce costs, cross-train medical professionals and broaden access to unique clinical trials that provide medical treatments and therapies often not available elsewhere in the region.

“This collaboration will allow OHSU and PeaceHealth Southwest to work more closely to enhance and coordinate care for our most vulnerable newborns,” said Dr. Mark O’Hollaren, vice president for strategic outreach at OHSU and professor of medicine at OHSU’s School of Medicine. “Our goal is to allow as many babies as possible to receive care close to home and family, and when that is not possible, to have seamless care coordination between our two organizations to most effectively and compassionately care for these patients.”