Duke Health and WakeMed Agree to Collaborate in Heart Care

Service is culmination of discussions that began two years ago

Driven by a shared commitment to enhance and broadly extend the scope, quality and value of heart care services for patients throughout Wake County, Duke Health and WakeMed Health & Hospitals have agreed to combine their nationally and regionally renowned heart programs in a single heart service. This collaboration will be effective March 1, 2017, with full integration being completed in the next few months.  

This is not a merger between the two organizations. Duke Health and WakeMed will continue to operate independently apart from the collaboration and maintain their own identities.

To be known as Heart Care Plus+, the collaboration brings together Duke’s recognized specialty and sub-specialty services and physicians with WakeMed’s legacy for excellence in heart care through the WakeMed Heart Center and its network of physician practices throughout Wake County. In doing so, Heart Care Plus+ will create a county-wide distribution of exceptional providers, outpatient practices and facilities, and hospitals that will work together to seamlessly provide the highest quality care across the entire spectrum of heart and vascular disease.

On March 1, Heart Care Plus+ will begin a transition and integration process that will bring both heart teams together and will be fast-tracked for completion. However, it is expected that some new services and offerings will be introduced through Heart Care Plus+ during the transition period.

“We believe this collaboration will result in synergies in treatment, leading to improved care, value and convenience for heart patients in Wake County,” said William J. Fulkerson, Jr., M.D., executive vice president of Duke University Health System. “When fully operational, patients in Wake County will be able to access the highest quality cardiovascular specialty services -- based on their specific disease and condition -- at the most medically appropriate and convenient locations.”    

The agreements defining this shared service line are the culmination of discussions that began between Duke Health and WakeMed in June 2014. Those discussions focused on identifying possible collaborations that could enhance the scope, quality and value of patient care throughout Wake County in ways that neither Duke Health nor WakeMed could effectively achieve alone.

Duke Health and WakeMed are also nearing completion of discussions related to a similar collaboration involving cancer services in Wake County.

Duke is recognized nationally and internationally for its cardiology, cardiac surgery and basic and clinical research programs.  Since its inception, the WakeMed Heart Center has been recognized for being Wake County’s leading heart service. 

The collaboration also speaks to a mutually held belief regarding the value and need for innovation and cooperation in health care delivery moving to the future.

“This collaboration is an expression of our shared commitment to the idea that the future of effective value-based health care delivery lies in creating innovative relationships with like-minded organizations who share the primary goal of providing the highest quality patient- centered care,” said A. Eugene Washington, MD, Chancellor for Health Affairs, Duke University, and President and CEO for Duke University Health System.