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Medical partnership to operate neurological clinic in Henderson

St. Rose Dominican

Aida Ahmed

St. Rose Dominican Hospitals announced Tuesday that the St. Rose Center for Neurosurgery will open next year in collaboration with Stanford Hospital and Clinics.

Updated Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011 | 12:50 p.m.

Rod Davis

Rod Davis

Two years ago, the Cleveland Clinic launched a new era of health care in Las Vegas.

The world-class clinic partnered with the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute to create the first health care collaboration in Las Vegas involving a renowned hospital from outside Nevada.

On Tuesday, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and St. Rose Dominican Hospitals followed suit to an extent, announcing they are operating a neurological clinic next to St. Rose — Siena Campus in Henderson.

The joint venture is the first time Stanford has entered a medical partnership outside California.

The agreement allows local neurologists to use Stanford’s facilities and to take their patients there, as well as tap the university’s academic research.

An expanded St. Rose Center for Neurosurgery is slated to open in January.

“We will be mirroring their policies and procedures and quality assurance in neurosurgery,” said Dr. Randal Peoples, the program’s medical director and a practicing Las Vegas neurosurgeon for 19 years. He has joined the Stanford adjunct faculty and was appointed the clinic's director Aug. 1. “Having access to their academic facility and their consultants will enhance and expand neurosurgery here in Las Vegas.”

Peoples, one of about a dozen full-time neurosurgeons practicing in Las Vegas, is for now the only physician seeing patients at the clinic.

The St. Rose Center for Neurosurgery will be the first of its kind in Nevada, which lacks an academic institution for neurosurgery. The center will be housed in an existing medical complex behind the hospital at St. Rose Parkway and Eastern Avenue. One or two Las Vegas neurosurgeons will be appointed as adjunct faculty with Peoples.

“We are very pleased to partner with St. Rose Dominican Hospitals to bring expanded neuroscience services to the Southern Nevada community,” Amir Dan Rubin, president and CEO of Stanford Hospital & Clinics, said in a statement. “Our collaboration with St. Rose allows us to further our mission of healing humanity through science and compassion one patient at a time.”

Stanford University has partnered with half a dozen hospitals in the field of neurosurgery alone but St. Rose Dominican Hospitals is the first out-of-state collaboration for the university.

“The outreach affords us a mechanism for referrals for complex cases,” said Dr. Gary Steinberg, chairman of Stanford’s department of neurosurgery. “Most of the surgeries will be performed in the community but Stanford will take on select cases that can’t be done in the community.”

Dr. Steinberg says he anticipates St. Rose Dominican Hospital to refer 10 to 15 special cases a year to Stanford.

Rod Davis, president and CEO of St. Rose Dominican Hospitals, called the partnership “a major development in pediatric and adult neurosurgery where Nevada-based physicians will have access to educational opportunities, conferences and direct contact with professors of neurosurgery at Stanford University.”

According to Peoples, brain operations account for almost half of all neurological surgeries, including complex problems related to tumors, hemorrhages, aneurysms, vascular problems and babies with spina bifida. Peoples said a center for excellence such as Stanford has a large resource base and consultants for unusual cases.

“The specialty of neurosurgery is very complex and there are patients who are beyond my level of expertise,” Peoples said. “There are certain things that come our way that are so rare we want a backup opinion.”

And what does Stanford get out of the deal? Very little, Peoples said.

“They don’t have to do things like this, it’s almost hard to believe,” he said. “They are acting as a mentor and extending their good name and goodwill.”

In 2011, Stanford was ranked No. 20 on U.S. News & World Report list of best neurology and neurosurgery. It was ranked No. 17 best hospital overall.

The collaboration between Stanford and St. Rose is not as extensive as the relationship that created the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, which opened in 2009. In that case, physicians and researchers from Cleveland have moved to Las Vegas to help staff the facility, which researches and treats neurological diseases including Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s.

“The opening of the Ruvo Center has been a major step for Nevadans to obtain world-class care,” Davis said. “This is another step that is complementary to that center.”

Davis says the center will focus on pediatric and adult neurological care for now but plans to expand to other specialties.

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