Frye Regional Becomes Duke Heart Affiliate

October 26, 2016

The Frye Heart Center at Frye Regional Medical Center (FRMC), a Duke LifePoint hospital, has joined the Duke Heart Network effective October 1 and is the only Duke heart affiliate in Western North Carolina.  

As the hospital continues to expand cardiovascular services, becoming a Duke heart affiliate provides the Frye Regional Medical Center team further access to the clinical experience and expertise of the Duke Heart Center, ranked fifth in the nation for adult cardiology and heart surgery by US News & World Report in 2016. In addition, the Frye team has access to the latest training and staff education, Duke guidelines and research in heart care. 

Becoming a Duke heart affiliate is a natural next step for Frye, said Chief Executive Officer Gar Atchison. "As a Duke LifePoint hospital, we have a strong connection to Duke and LifePoint to support our patient safety, quality and daily operations. Further aligning our Heart Center with Duke allows us to enhance that relationship by connecting our physicians to educational opportunities with some of the nation's preeminent thought leaders in cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery. Our cardiovascular center is growing to serve our region, and we'll work closely with Duke Health to gain their expertise on new procedures, protocols for care and services that Frye can provide so our community can continue receiving care close to home for complex heart conditions," said Atchison.

Through this partnership, a multidisciplinary team of experts from the Duke Heart Network will work closely with the Frye Regional cardiovascular services team; cardiovascular specialists from FryeCare Heart, Lung and Vascular; Hickory Cardiology; Piedmont Cardiology; and the surrounding medical community. 

"Frye Regional has an outstanding cardiovascular program and medical staff, and we are pleased that our conversations over the past few months are now becoming a reality," said Peter Smith, MD, professor of medicine and division chief of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at Duke Health.

"Duke has a longstanding commitment to work with hospitals like Frye to enhance and expand cardiovascular programs," Dr. Smith said. "Each unique relationship is built on the needs of the community and capitalizes on the strengths of the organization, its providers and staff. While each heart program maintains specific goals and targets, we strive to maintain two overarching objectives: to expand specialized cardiovascular services locally so patients can access quality-driven care in their own communities; and to extend the Duke brand of quality." 

Becoming a Duke Heart Affiliate

The process to become a Duke Heart affiliate starts with a baseline, comprehensive cardiovascular program review conducted by a dedicated Duke team of experts experienced in developing, sustaining, and growing premier cardiovascular programs.  Following the review, Frye Regional and Duke Heart Network develop a collaborative work plan which will drive next steps and define expected outcomes. 

"Quality is the cornerstone of everything we do at Duke," said Amy Kessenich, MHA/MPA, RN, Senior Director of the Duke Heart Network. "We understand that organizations and communities differ, and we work closely with hospital leaders, staff and clinicians to identify and implement processes that best serve each community's unique cardiovascular needs. We regularly analyze data and review patient care processes and protocols, offering education and support for performance improvement to assist Frye Regional in ensuring evidence-based cardiovascular clinical care. Frye has an incredible heart program and we look forward to working together and learning from each other, evolving clinical care processes, and defining best practices to achieve our shared goal of enhancing outcomes for Frye's cardiovascular patients."

"We have a vibrant and evolving Heart Center," said Dr. Cemil Purut, cardiothoracic surgeon from FryeCare Heart, Lung & Vascular.  "Our heart affiliation with Duke Health allows us direct access to the resources of the Duke Heart Center. Our goal has always been to provide the highest quality cardiovascular treatment in Hickory so that our patients and their families don't have to travel to find the quality and advanced procedures they may require. Joining the Duke Heart Network strengthens and elevates our program."

About Frye Regional's Heart Center 

Frye Regional's comprehensive Heart Center offers 24/7 intervention, including the region's only open heart surgery program, and is recognized by the American Heart Association as a Mission Lifeline STEMI Receiving Center for its ability to care for heart attack patients (Gold Plus, 2012-2016). Frye works closely with local EMS providers to achieve quality metrics related to heart attack care that streamlines diagnosis and treatment of heart attacks, speeding intervention and impacting patient outcomes. Frye's average door-to-balloon time (the time it takes to diagnose a heart attack and have an intervention in a catheterization lab) is 45 minutes, below the national benchmark of 90 minutes.

Frye also works with other hospitals in the region to take care of heart patients who require additional intervention. For example, patients who undergo cardiac catheterization at another facility and may need open heart surgery may be transferred to Frye for a higher level of care. In spring 2016, Frye announced that it now offers minimally invasive aortic valve replacement, a procedure that previously was only available in Winston-Salem, Charlotte or Asheville. 

About Frye Regional Medical Center

A part of Duke LifePoint Healthcare, Frye Regional Medical Center has served the health and medical needs of the residents of the Catawba Valley region since 1911 with a commitment to delivering high quality and compassionate care with a focus on patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes. Frye Regional Medical Center includes a 355-bed acute care hospital, home to the Frye Heart Center, Cancer Center, General and Bariatric Surgery, Emergency Services, Advanced Orthopedics, Neurosciences, Women's Birthing Center and Inpatient Rehabilitation. The system also includes the Frye South Campus, an inpatient adult behavioral health treatment center designed to provide therapeutic stabilization. Frye Regional also offers the region access to more than 60 primary care and specialty care providers through the FryeCare Physicians Network. 

About Duke Heart Network 

With the resources of the Duke Heart Center, ranked fifth in the nation for adult cardiology and heart surgery (US News & World Report, 2016), the Duke Heart Network is comprised of seven hospitals across the eastern United States.  The DHN includes a multidisciplinary team of Duke Health experts who collaborate with affiliates to translate the latest evidence-based guidelines into best practices to enhance the quality of cardiovascular care in their local communities.  The Duke Heart Network facilitates process improvement to achieve exceptional outcomes through data analytics and benchmarking and supports continuous learning through ongoing education.

Media Contact:

Amanda Brasier - (828) 315-5739