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News Room: Press Releases

Virtua and Samaritan expand palliative services

Virtua and Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice have signed an agreement, formalizing an arrangement for Samaritan to be Virtua’s provider of choice for palliative medicine and hospice care. The two organizations have a long history of collaboration, and under the expanded agreement, clinicians from Virtua and Samaritan will work more closely together to increase access to a wide range of services.

This formal affiliation combines Virtua’s resources in the treatment of disease, with Samaritan’s expertise in the management of pain and other symptoms. Patients continue to see their principal physicians for treatment of their disease while palliative physicians focus on minimizing suffering and helping patients and families cope with illness. Palliative physicians and nurse practitioners also support coordination of a wide range of healthcare needs for patients, including psychological, social and spiritual. Ultimately, palliative medicine may help patients better tolerate treatment of illness and improve chances for recovery.

Over the last decade, palliative medicine has been one of the fastest growing health care services, with the numbers of health systems offering it nearly tripling. The growth has occurred to support the increasing number of Americans who are living longer, and living with serious illnesses. Palliative medicine is expected to increase as patients become more aware of its benefits.

“We know we can improve the lives of patients who suffer from serious acute or chronic illness by providing the additional services offered by palliative medical specialists,” said Dr. James Dwyer, executive vice president and chief medical officer at Virtua. “Palliative medicine is different than hospice care. It can be provided at any point during the course of an illness, and it complements and supports medical care and treatment from other specialists.”

In the case of patients whose illness may progress, Samaritan is also Virtua’s provider of choice for hospice care when needed. “With an integrated approach, we work with patients and families to support them with the appropriate care at all points in the disease process,” said Dr. Stephen Goldfine, chief medical officer at Samaritan. In addition to providing hospice care for patients at home, nursing homes or assisted living facilities, Samaritan has operated an inpatient hospice unit center at Virtua Memorial Hospital since 2005.”

“Virtua’s relationship with Samaritan underscores its commitment to support the health of people of any age and any diagnosis,” said Richard P. Miller, Virtua president and chief executive officer. “We have intensified our services and partnerships with quality providers in order to meet the needs of patients and their families in South Jersey, across the entire continuum of care.”

As one of New Jersey’s largest health systems, Virtua helps people be well, get well and stay well through a comprehensive range of health care services. Services are delivered through three health and wellness centers, three fitness centers, four acute care hospitals, primary and specialty physician practices with more than 240 physicians, urgent care centers, seven ambulatory surgery centers, home health services, two long-term care and rehabilitation centers, 12 paramedic units and a wide range of outpatient services. A leader in maternal and child health services, Virtua delivers more than 8,000 babies a year. Virtua also provides employment and wellness services to 1,700 businesses and corporations. An innovator in clinical and information technology such as electronic medical records, Virtua is recognized for its ground-breaking partnerships with GE Healthcare, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the Fox Chase Cancer Center. Virtua employs more than 8,400 people and has been honored as the #1 Best Place to Work in the Delaware Valley every year since 2007. It is the recipient of the Consumer Choice Award from the National Research Corporation. For more information, visit  www.virtua.org or www.virtuabroadcastnetwork.org.