NorthBay and Mayo Clinic Are a Powerful Connection for Local Patients
The challenge? Connect the best medical minds—those at NorthBay Healthcare and those at world-renowned Mayo Clinic—to provide the best possible treatment for patients who face the most complex medical conditions.
After a rigorous application process and review, NorthBay Healthcare in late May became the first system in Northern California, and one of only two in the state and more than 35 worldwide, to be selected for membership in the Mayo Clinic Care Network.
NorthBay physicians are now connected to the latest Mayo Clinic knowledge and to its eminent team of specialists, from oncology to cardiology to neurology and beyond. For patients and their families, this means they can keep their care close to home. A Mayo Clinic specialist can be called upon to consult with our NorthBay experts when a case is complex.
In the early days of the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, people traveled from all over the world to visit the Rochester, Minn., campus, seeking the best medical care available. For those suffering from the most complex medical diseases, the trek was not easy. But connecting with the worldwide leader in medical care and research inspired hope.
“Now with easier travel, better means of communication and electronic ways to share information, we don’t have to sit in Rochester and have patients come to us,” explained Keith Cannon, M.D., medical director for the southwest region of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. “As we grow in the 21st Century, we are trying to give more access to Mayo Clinic expertise and knowledge to more doctors and more patients.”
“Our goals are in perfect alignment with the Mayo Clinic Care Network’s mission: Get answers to complex medical questions and find hope, and peace of mind while staying close to home.”
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That knowledge is available in Solano County, now that NorthBay Healthcare is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. “Our goals are in perfect alignment with the Mayo Clinic Care Network’s mission: Get answers to complex medical questions—and find hope, and peace of mind—while staying close to home,” said Gary Passama, president and CEO of NorthBay Healthcare. “So several years ago, we began to explore membership in the network.”
After a rigorous vetting process, NorthBay Healthcare was accepted and it was announced publicly in May.
“In the past year, we’ve taken time to get well-acquainted, and NorthBay’s commitment to meeting patients’ needs and serving the community resonates with Mayo’s deeply held values,” said Dr. Cannon. “When we look for potential members, we’re looking for patient-centered, data-driven hospitals. We’re looking for organizations that share our values—the needs of the patient come first. It gets back to the patient-centered philosophy of an organization. We look for strong leadership, a commitment to the community.”
Earning membership in the network underscores the exceptional care our physicians and staff provide every day, explained Passama.
“This collaboration is not a merger or an acquisition,” he stressed. “It is not an affiliation that imperils the independence of NorthBay Healthcare. Like the Mayo Clinic, we fiercely protect our autonomy and individualism.
“All services and consultations are available to our patients at no cost,” explained Passama. “It’s an investment we have made to improve care for a wide variety of medical conditions.”
The membership fee NorthBay pays to Mayo Clinic is all inclusive. Patients are not charged; insurance companies are not billed.
The new collaboration is just the latest advancement in medicine for NorthBay Healthcare, explained Elnora Cameron, vice president for strategic planning. “To remain the leader in Solano County, we realized it was important to continually look at new collaborations and new ways to enhance our clinical knowledge and capabilities and to have a platform for showcasing what we do.”
“NorthBay Healthcare is by far the smallest health care system in the county, but ironically, we also provide the most sophisticated services,” she noted. “From neonatal intensive care to trauma to neuroscience, we have brought services home to Solano County, allowing patients to receive treatment here, instead of having to travel.”
The collaboration has local implications beyond health care. Fairfield Mayor Harris Price said after the announcement ceremony, “This will say something to those who are deciding whether to live or work here, whether to bring their company or their business to our community.”
NorthBay physicians and clinical staff can access Mayo’s extensive library of patient education materials and watch archived Mayo Clinic presentations that feature Mayo physicians and scientists.
James Long, M.D., longtime medical director of NorthBay Cancer Center, said he was skeptical when he was first asked to join the team exploring the Mayo Clinic Care Network, but now that he has seen the benefits, he has gladly accepted the role as NorthBay’s physician champion for the endeavor. “As a physician, I think this brings a whole different level of care to the patient,” he said. “There is no downside to this.”
He added, “This is very valuable in complex cases, especially the ones where our patients are anxious, or alarmed at facing a serious medical situation. Knowing that they have the best medical care locally, complemented by the expertise of the world’s most trusted medical center, medical minds and research, brings peace of mind.”
What It Means to NorthBay Patients
As a member of the care network, NorthBay Healthcare works closely with Mayo to share medical knowledge and clinical expertise. Local physicians have access to services including:
- eConsults that allow NorthBay Healthcare physicians to connect electronically and directly with Mayo specialists for more input on a patient’s care.
- AskMayoExpert, a database for reference at the point of care to offer the latest Mayo-vetted information on the management, care and treatment of a variety of medical conditions.
- Health care consulting that enables NorthBay to learn more about Mayo’s clinical, operational and business models, including how they are designed and implemented.
- eTumor Board conferences that invite NorthBay physicians to present and discuss complex cancer cases with a multidisciplinary panel of Mayo specialists and other network members.