NMMC-Le Bonheur partnership grows strong

Just past its second official birthday, a partnership between North Mississippi Medical Center and Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center is growing steadily.
An outreach clinic in the former Med-Serve building on Council Circle behind the hospital brings Le Bonheur and University of Tennessee pediatric specialists to Tupelo, saving children and their families a trip to Memphis for follow-up visits.
“Since opened in late spring 2008, we’ve more than doubled in the number of specialists and patient volume,” said Laura Miller, administrative director of business development for the Memphis-based children’s hospital.
In 2009, the pediatric cardiologists, gastroenterologists, neurologists, pulmonologists and surgeons had more than 1,000 patient visits at the Tupelo pediatric outreach clinic.
In April, pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Stephanie Einhaus began seeing patients in the outreach clinic. The pediatric surgeons are having to temporarily suspend their Tupelo clinics because of physician staffing issues. They plan to resume seeing patients in Tupelo after they recruit an additional surgeon, Miller said.
“I’m very happy with where we are now,” said Ellen Friloux, NMMC children’s and women’s service line administrator. “I think we have an excellent affiliation.”
In some ways, the outreach clinic has grown faster than NMMC and Le Bonheur initially anticipated, particularly with being able to offer gastroenterology and pulmonology visits through the outreach clinic.
“I think we’re a little ahead of schedule,” Friloux said. NMMC and Le Bonheur are anticipating being able to add a second cardiologist to the schedule later this year.
Because of the high demand, many Northeast Mississippi families still have their initial visits with the specialists in Memphis, but are often able to schedule follow-up visits in the Tupelo outreach clinic.
“The clinics are booked months out because of the demand,” Friloux said.

Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal