Duke renews ties with Danville hospital

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Danville Regional Medical Center (DRMC) has signed a 10-year affiliation agreement with the nationally renowned Duke Heart Center. DRMC officials say the move, which renews a 6-year-old partnership between the institutions, will enhance the Danville hospital’s cardiac services and aid the area’s economic development efforts.

Jerel Humphrey, CEO of DRMC, says the partnership will enable the hospital’s Heart Center of the Piedmont to serve 300 patients per year and result in annual investments of $1.5 million in the facility over the next 10 years. Dr. Gary Miller, a local cardiologist and member of the Danville City Council, told the Danville Register & Bee that access to world-quality medical facilities would help attract companies to the region.

Duke Heart Center — ranked in the top 10 cardiology centers in the country by U.S. News and World Report — and DRMC began their partnership in 2003, when the two institutions unveiled the $9 million Heart Center of the Piedmont. However, the facility was soon beset by financial problems, the loss of its lead surgeon and a significant drop in patients. As a result, Duke evaluated the partnership last summer. Based on its findings, Duke decided to renew its affiliation with DRMC.

Dr. Peter Smith, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Duke University School of Medicine, said in a news release that Duke will provide an administrative director of cardiovascular services, as well as additional education on preventive cardiac measures and ongoing training for the local cardiovascular team

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