County hospital acquires part ownership in St. Vincent Heart Center


GREENFIELD — Hancock Health has become part-owner of the largest heart care hospital in the state.

Hancock Health, which operates Hancock Regional Hospital, now owns 2 percent of the Indianapolis-based St. Vincent Heart Center, a partnership leaders intend to use to ensure heart patients at the county hospital continue to receive care from the best and brightest of St. Vincent’s cardiologists.

The hospital has long been a part of a group that brings St. Vincent cardiologists to Hancock County, but hospital officials hope their ownership will encourage St. Vincent Heart Center to expand its care in the future at Hancock Regional, said chief strategy and innovation officer Rob Matt.

“This helps us have a louder voice in making more recommendations that St. Vincent’s cardiac group could see fit to provide expanded care here, so patients can stay local,” Matt said.

Cardiologists at the Hancock County hospital have access to St. Vincent Heart Center’s protocols and practices, in addition to comparable equipment and technology, Matt said.

St. Vincent Heart Center recently provided an opportunity to other hospitals to become part-owners of the business, and Hancock Regional was among those, said hospital CEO Steve Long.

Partnerships with high-quality healthcare systems are core to the hospital’s philosophy of providing the best care possible for residents in Hancock County, Long said. Through a longstanding physician partnership between the hospital and the St. Vincent Medical Group of cardiovascular physicians, Hancock Regional provides care from St. Vincent’s physicians and services including a cardiac catheter lab, echo sonography, stress tests and nuclear medicine scans, Long said.

“We’ve taken that partnership up a notch and become a very minority owner of St. Vincent Heart Center,” Long said. “They are one of the most highly-rated heart centers in the country, and it feels good to know they’re that good.”

Cardiologists from the St. Vincent Medical Group work at almost 30 heart clinics or St. Vincent locations throughout the state, according to the St. Vincent Heart Center website. The group comprises some 180 cardiovascular physicians and 300 heart care associates, according to the website.

And those cardiologists aren’t resting on their laurels, Matt said. Physicians rotate among hospitals, including the heart center, where they keep their skills sharp, he said.

There’s plenty of room to grow in the cardiology department at Hancock Regional, he added; there’s an entire section that isn’t currently in use.