OHSU's Casey Eye Institute and Longview's Lower Colmbia Eye Clinic increase patient access in southwest Washington

08/21/09  Portland, OR

Oregon Health & Science University’s Casey Eye Clinic and Longview’s Lower Columbia Eye Clinic are announcing a new affiliation – one that will result in increased access for patients throughout Southwest Washington.

The acquisition of the Lower Columbia Eye Clinic by the Casey Eye Clinic was completed Dec. 30. As part of the agreement, Longview ophthalmologists Dr. James Hulbert and Dr. Timothy Vrtiska will continue to see patients in the region. In addition, Casey Eye Institute ophthalmologist Dr. Lori Lombardi will begin seeing patients at the Longview clinic. Lombardi, who received her medical degree at Stanford University and served her residency at OHSU, specializes in comprehensive ophthalmology.  Like Vrtiska, Lombardi will utilize the outpatient surgical facilities at PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center for patients undergoing surgery.

The regional partnership will provide Cowlitz County residents with increased access to general ophthalmology services. The partnership also offers a more seamless referral process for patients who need to travel to the Casey Eye Institute in Portland for surgery or services not available locally.

This is the latest regional partnership between Cowlitz County health care providers and OHSU.  OHSU’s neurosurgery program has offered services in Longview for several years. In 2007 OHSU and PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center created a cardiology partnership, expanding access to local cardiac care.

“The primary beneficiaries of this latest affiliation agreement are the patients in Southwest Washington,” said David Wilson, M.D., director of the OHSU Casey Eye Institute and professor and chairman of ophthalmology in the OHSU School of Medicine. “It is always preferred that patients receive care within their community and avoid travel when possible. This agreement ensures that Cowlitz County patients will continue to receive the care they need while at the same time expanding those services.”

“This is a great partnership for our community because it expands access to local ophthalmology services,” said Kirk Raboin, director of surgical services at PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center.  “St. John’s surgical facility has been working with Casey Eye Institute to optimize our setting for these ophthalmic procedures.  Patients can expect great care close to home.”

About Casey Eye Institute
As part of Oregon Health & Science University, the Casey Eye Institute is an academic regional eye center. It is named after James and George Casey, founders of United Parcel Service. The Casey Eye Institute is also one of only seven regional eye research centers in the nation sponsored by Research to Prevent Blindness, the world's leading voluntary organization in support of eye research. The Casey Eye Institute has operated the Elks Children’s Eye Clinic since 1949, thanks to the generous support of the Oregon State Elks Association.

About OHSU
Oregon Health & Science University is the state’s only health and research university, and Oregon’s only academic health center. OHSU is Portland's largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government). OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in the state. It serves patients from every corner of the state, and is a conduit for learning for more than 3,400 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to every county in the state.