December 2005

Global Health Initiatives Helps Establish Sister Hospital Relationship in Vietnam


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To help meet Bach Mai Hospital's need for equipment, Paul Neumann (left) and George Zara carried defibrillators and respirators as part of their luggage.

Global Health Initiatives, created to expand the international mission work of Catholic Health Initiatives and its market-based organizations, has facilitated a sister-to-sister relationship between St. Anthony Central Hospital, Denver, Colo., part of Centura Health, and Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam. Global Health Initiatives, created to expand the international mission work of Catholic Health Initiatives and its market-based organizations, has facilitated a sister-to-sister relationship between St. Anthony Central Hospital, Denver, Colo., part of Centura Health, and Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam. "The relationship was suggested by Carl Bartecchi, MD, one of our physicians in Pueblo, Colo., who has traveled to Vietnam and established relationships with physicians there," said Paul Neumann, senior vice president of legal services for Catholic Health Initiatives. "St. Anthony Central and Bach Mai are of similar size and, as urban hospitals, face some similar challenges. So, the pairing was a logical choice." Neumann and Bartecchi, along with George Zara, president and chief executive officer of St. Anthony Hospitals, and Jay Maloney, executive director of the CHI Colorado Foundation, recently traveled to Hanoi to work out the details of the relationship. They met with the U.S. ambassador to Vietnam as well as the country's minister of health, and negotiated a partnership agreement with Vietnam's Communist government. Through their new relationship, St. Anthony Central and Bach Mai will develop ways for employees to exchange knowledge. "This is an outreach effort for St. Anthony Central, but there is a lot we can learn from Bach Mai," said Neumann. "This is the hospital that stopped a Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic in its tracks." St. Anthony Central will provide refurbished equipment to Bach Mai, along with training that will enable Bach Mai employees to maintain the equipment. Bach Mai administrators and staff will travel to Denver for training on specific topics, such as toxicology, that will be mutually selected. "Toxicology is very important at Bach Mai," said Neumann. "There are so many cases of snake bite that the hospital has a 'living lab' stocked with horses. The horses are injected with snake venom in order to produce anti-venom, which is then used to treat patients." The group was fascinated by their experiences in Vietnam. "Bach Mai is a major academic medical center, but in some ways it is still a third-world facility," Neumann said. "We saw many ways in which the hospitals can help, collaborate with and learn from each other."