A newly formed bond between a local hospital and one of the nation's top children's hospitals will mean expanded services and new opportunities for Southeast Missouri families, hospital officials say.
One of the first changes to follow the official linkage of Southeast Missouri Hospital with SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital will be the addition of two neonatologists to the Cape Girardeau staff.
Tuesday, Southeast Missouri Hospital officials approved a clinical affiliation with the St. Louis-based hospital, formalizing a 20-year relationship between the two entities.
In the past two decades, Southeast physicians have consulted with those at Cardinal Glennon and relied on that hospital's expertise in training clinics. The official affiliation will bring additional resources to Cape Girardeau, including clinical support from Cardinal Glennon and more training opportunities for physicians and nurses.
Dr. David Cope, vice president of medical affairs at Southeast Missouri Hospital, said the partnership also will allow local physicians to stay on top of medical advances.
"Changes here will occur simultaneously with those at Cardinal Glennon rather than six months or a year later," Cope said. "We'll be able to stay on the cutting edge."
Dr. Paul Caruso, Southeast's lead pediatric hospitalist, said the affiliation with Cardinal Glennon may help fill a hole in the medical services offered to local children.
"This area is lacking pediatric specialists," Caruso said. "This may bring those specialists from Cardinal Glennon through our hospital at times, which would save families a trip to St. Louis."
With the help of Cardinal Glennon, the search has already begun for two neonatologists for Southeast.
The hospital currently has three board-certified pediatric hospitalists and eight pediatricians in employment, but no neonatologist -- board-certified pediatricians with three additional years of training specifically in newborn care.
"This occurred at the urging of obstetricians and pediatricians in town, and they think this is a great thing to do," Cope said. "It adds what we feel is really the final dimension to our pediatric care."
Eventually, changes may impact all areas of pediatrics at Southeast. Over the next one to two years, Cope said, Cardinal Glennon policies and procedures will be integrated at Southeast.
"It won't be a complete change," Cope said. "There will still be the local flavor of what we need here in Cape Girardeau."
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