OHSU Partners: Clinical Integration in Action

Fred Williams, M.D. has been a Neurosurgeon at Tuality Healthcare for over a decade. In that time, he hasn’t had a partner to collaborate with – until now. Tuality and OHSU are now formally linked through OHSU Partners. With that collaboration has come a partnership between Dr. Williams and Jeremy Ciporen, M.D., an OHSU assistant professor in neurological surgery, that is serving both of them – and their patients.

Tuality Healthcare is a nonprofit, community-based organization serving a market area of 350,000 and growing. The neurological affiliation between Tuality and OHSU is an example of an integration of the organizations’ clinical services. As the state’s only public academic health center with over 15,000 employees, OHSU’s size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support not found anywhere else in the state.

Partnership in action             

Chief Medical Officer of Tuality Healthcare, Stuart Currie, M.D., believes that the affiliation with OHSU “represents a giant leap for the academic medical center to reach into the community and bring the expertise that they offer back to the community for a lower cost of care and at the same time, adding the strength of OHSU to a community hospital like Tuality to enhance our ability to continue to provide for our community.”

photo by Jeff Schilling/Tuality Healthcare

OHSU enables Tuality to “offer more neurosurgical care for our patients at the same time we’re bringing a higher level of complexity of care out to Tuality that we would not be able to do without such a close affiliation with OHSU” says Dr. Currie.

Dr. Ciporen, for his part, is thrilled to be working alongside Dr. Williams.

“I feel pretty blessed that it was Dr. Williams who I was paired with,” he said. “There is a lot of mutual respect and he’s an accomplished neurosurgeon and he’s just a great individual. There’s a lot that I’ve learned already, there’s a lot to be learned. I think we match up well. I think we have a symbiotic relationship. I also think our skill sets complement each other.”

Dr. Williams is proud of the neurological care Tuality has always offered, and he also sees the added value that Dr. Ciporen brings to Tuality.

“He’s really brought us up to the forefront in neurosurgery,” Dr. Williams said “Not just up to standard – we were living up to standard before – but he’s moved us beyond that.”

Dr. Currie says Dr. Ciporen enables Tuality to establish a neurosurgical program in western Washington County that can care for more patients and more complex cases.

“Dr. Williams has been practicing in the community for a number of years, and we needed more capacity in neurosurgery. A great sign of our new affiliation is OHSU happened to have a neurosurgeon who had an interest in working in a community setting and bringing his expertise,” Dr. Currie said.

Team Effort                

Dr. Ciporen said the collaboration has been a team effort by all involved with patient care prioritized throughout.

“I’ve been really impressed by the patient-centric nature of the people at OHSU that I work with every day and also by the people and caregivers and administration at Tuality,” he said. “I’ve also been impressed by how many people have mobilized and actually did what they said they were going to do to make things happen.”

Dr. Williams said he appreciates that OHSU sets a high standard, just as Tuality does. He believes that the affiliation will continue to benefit both institutions.

“If we look into the future, there’s going to be a need for a major hospital facility here,” Dr. Williams said. “We’re going to be doing the things that we’ve always done, and we do those very well, but we’re going to have to think about expanding what we can do so that we can handle more things. They can’t all be done up on the hill at OHSU. We need capability out here.”

Dr. Ciporen adds “we’ve approached it not just as a neurosurgeon going there to do more volume but to improve access in the outpatient setting and the inpatient setting and in the multidisciplinary care setting. And I think that’s where the future is going to be as well.”