This is a picture of Middlesex Hospital President and CEO Vincent Capece Jr., left, and Dr. Keith Cannon, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Care Network
Middlesex Hospital President and CEO Vincent Capece Jr., left, and Dr. Keith Cannon, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Care Network Arielle Levin Becker / CTMirror.org
This is a picture of Middlesex Hospital President and CEO Vincent Capece Jr., left, and Dr. Keith Cannon, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Care Network
Middlesex Hospital President and CEO Vincent Capece Jr., left, and Dr. Keith Cannon, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Care Network Arielle Levin Becker / CTMirror.org

Middlesex Hospital is joining a clinical care network run by the Mayo Clinic, an arrangement designed to give doctors at the Middletown hospital access to consultations with Mayo experts, hospital officials said Thursday.

The arrangement involves clinical care and does not change hospital ownership. Middlesex will remain an independent hospital. It will pay a subscription fee to the Mayo Clinic Care Network, allowing providers at the hospital to access what the two organizations described as “Mayo knowledge.”

If a doctor at Middlesex sees a need for an additional opinion or information on a patient’s case, for example, the hospital will be able to send the patient’s records, lab tests and imaging through a secure portal to Mayo, where a specialist will review the information and provide input, Middlesex Hospital President and CEO Vincent Capece Jr. said.

For patients with complex cancer or complicated treatment decisions, Middlesex Hospital doctors will be able to participate in “eTumor board conferences,” presenting the cases and discussing how to handle them with Mayo clinic specialists and physicians from other hospitals in the network.

Health care providers at Middlesex will also have access to an online tool that provides information on treatment recommendations, care guidelines and disease management.

Capece said the service will not come at a cost to patients. He described it as a way to help bring the care delivered in the community “to the next level.” The arrangement covers all of the hospital’s services, he said.

The Mayo Clinic, which is based in Minnesota and has campuses in Arizona and Florida, formed its care network in 2011. Counting Middlesex Hospital, the network now includes 35 organizations with more than 80 hospitals in 21 states, as well as members in Puerto Rico, Mexico and Singapore, said Dr. Keith Cannon, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Care Network.

Cannon said having remote access to Mayo specialists could eliminate the need for patients facing particularly complex problems to travel for care or consultations.

Middlesex Hospital is the first to join Mayo’s network, but not the first to join forces with an out-of-state medical center. Hartford HealthCare – the parent company of Hartford, Backus, Windham hospitals, MidState Medical Center and The Hospital of Central Connecticut – is part of a cancer-care alliance run by Memorial Sloan Kettering.

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Arielle Levin Becker covered health care for The Connecticut Mirror. She previously worked for The Hartford Courant, most recently as its health reporter, and has also covered small towns, courts and education in Connecticut and New Jersey. She was a finalist in 2009 for the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists, a recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship and the third-place winner in 2013 for an in-depth piece on caregivers from the National Association of Health Journalists. She is a 2004 graduate of Yale University.

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