By MAGGIE MENDERSKI
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
• Dr. Stilianos Efstratiadis, an interventional cardiologist at Quincy Medical Group began performing two new lifesaving heart procedures locally this year. This local medical advancement allows patients in West-Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri to have surgery near their hometown rather than traveling to a major metropolitan area. Efstratiadis, an expert in complex cardiac procedures, has performed more than 3,000 in his career. The aortic valvuplasty is an invasive but nonsurgical procedure done to improve the quality of life of patients who are too high-risk for aortic valve replacement or patients who need time for their medical condition to improve. The second procedure, the insertion of the Impella heart-assist device, helps the heart pump when the patient's heart is too weak to tolerate a high-risk stenting procedure.
• Blessing Health System broke ground in April on a $10 million project for an addition to the Blessing Health Center complex at 927 Broadway to be completed June 2013. The growing four-story building will connect with the two existing Blessing Health Center facilities to the west. The space will also add an extra 62,000 square feet to house Blessing Physician Services operation. The third Blessing Health Center building will allow continued expansion of Blessing Physician Services to create more access to care for the public. The system is recruiting new family medicine and specialist providers and mid-level practitioners. The new Blessing Health Center addition will give them the space to provide care.
• Blessing Hospital announced in June plans for a $70 million addition to its 11th Street campus. Blessing will relocate three inpatient Behavioral Center units from the 14th Street site to the 11th Street campus. The project will create dozens of highly demanded private rooms for patients. Construction will continue throughout 2013. The project was estimated to open in late 2014. The project will decrease the cost involved with operating the 14th Street building as a hospital. The hospital intends to use 14th Street for support services, but will no longer use it for patients. Construction has begun north of the current patient tower and to the west of the Blessing Cancer Center. The ground level and first floor of the addition will house the three Blessing Behavioral Center inpatient units. The second and third floors will house a total of 52 private rooms, which Blessing President/CEO Maureen Kahn said is the most popular request among patients. The fourth floor will not used immediately but will be available for future expansion.
• Quincy Medical Group and Iowa Health System finalized an affiliate agreement in June to create a relationship designed to coordinate physician-driven, patient-centered health care and improve efficiencies. As part of the affiliation, QMG has joined IHS's accountable care organization, but still remains an independent entity. This decentralized model will ensure that QMG will continue to be guided by local leaders while seeing the benefits that a larger system can bring to QMG and the residents of the area.
• Hannibal Regional Healthcare System named Todd Ahrens as president and CEO in October. Ahrens succeeds John Grossmeier, who retired after serving nearly 20 years as president. Ahrens oversees all aspects of the healthcare system, including support and development of Hannibal Regional Hospital, Hannibal Regional Medical Group and Hannibal Regional Hospital Foundation. Ahrens, a Hannibal native, has been affiliated with the health care system since 2001. He was initially involved in a governance role on the hospital and the board of directors. He served as board chairman in 2005.
• Quincy Medical Group celebrated 75 years of medical service to the community this October. QMG, then known as Quincy Clinic, began through the ingenuity of Drs. Orie Shulian, Walter M. Whitaker and Dr. Kent W. Barber. These doctors combine their practices into a singular building at 1416 Maine. When the clinic opened, fewer than 80 medical collaborations were registered in the country. Since its birth, the clinic has grown to include more than 100 physicians and serves more than 300,000 patients at various affiliates throughout the region.
• In late October, Dr. Godfred Yankey performed Blessing Hospital's first minimally invasive surgery at Blessing Hospital. This procedure allows for a shorter incision and recovery time for patients. Yankey had performed this surgery more than 800 times in his career, but this was his first minimally invasive procedure at Blessing. Yankey, who began his practice with Dr. James Kase at Quincy Cardiothoracic Specialists just weeks before the first surgery, had performed more than 800 minimally invasive heart surgeries in the past two years.
• Shelby County Economic Development and Premiere Speciality Network have begun conversations regarding the feasibility of building a hospital in Shelby County. The rural health network helped develop five critical access hospitals in Northeast Missouri. Premier has since expanded to provide medical and surgical services to more than 40 hospitals and clinics in five states. Premier specializes in providing specialist services to rural health care systems. Through a partnership, Premier could bring doctors such as oncologists, rheumatologists and neurologists to Shelby County.