Punta Mita Hospital establishes Stroke and Cardiovascular Center through collaboration with #3 ranked UC San Diego Health.

The world-class specialists at UC San Diego Health are now available at Punta Mita Hospital to help care for stroke, cardiovascular and trauma patients. This unique service in the Bay of Banderas and Puerto Vallarta, the first of its kind in Mexico, will give patients access to real time virtual second opinion consultations for emergency medicine, traumatic collisions, heart attack, and stroke patients.

The Punta Mita Hospital and UC San Diego Health collaboration offers a solution which is focused around what’s best for the patient and patient’s family in their moment of need: access to the right subspecialists at the right time. Many acute injuries and diseases, such as stroke, heart attack, and trauma, require immediate specialty care in order to minimize and hopefully eliminate any long-term side effects or consequences.

Punta Mita Hospital has an excellent facility equipped to handle emergency patients and stabilize them, in many cases, saving the patients’ lives. Led by Dr. Daniel Franco, the PMH Emergency physician team knows which type of specialist the patient needs in order to request an urgent consultation with the correct UC San Diego Health physician to discuss treatment options and medical recommendations for the patient. In some cases, the physicians will recommend that the patient can and should stay in Punta Mita to recover. However, if the physicians and patient family agree that returning home is the best option, whether to access a higher level or care or be close to family resources that can help support the patient, Punta Mita Hospital can coordinate an emergency air ambulance evacuation to the patient’s preferred destination.

Why Collaborate?

Punta Mita Hospital and UC San Diego Health began this important relationship between their hospitals in 2018 as an investment in the health and well-being of the community of Punta de Mita. Led by Dr. Sam Najmabadi, PMH Founder, and Stacy Holberg, Senior Director of the International Patient Program at UC San Diego Health, the two teams have been working for years to ensure the highest level of care is available to residents and visitors of Punta de Mita through strategic telehealth offerings.

UC San Diego Health has been dedicated to supporting the shared community between the United States and Mexico, serving as the closest Level 1 Trauma Center to the Mexico-US border and the region’s only Burn Unit and NCI designated Cancer Center for many years.

UC San Diego Health is currently the #1 ranked hospital in San Diego by the US News and World Report in 2021, and the #3 academic medical center in the United States ranked by Vizient, an independent group measuring quality based on clinical outcomes, patient safety, and delivery of superior care. As the Bernard A. Birnbaum, MD, Quality Leadership Award recipient, UC San Diego health is ranked among the top 10 academic medical centers in U.S. for the 3rd year in a row and #1 in California.

Tourism between San Diego, Punta de Mita, and Puerto Vallarta has always been high, with patients going back and forth for tourism, business, and seeking the best care available. Seeing this need, the physician teams connected to devise a plan. After several visits and exchanges between the teams, it became clear they shared a vision in quality of care and mutual trust to develop a clear pathway for care if a U.S. or Canadian citizen needed emergency subspecialty care or to evacuate Punta Mita for medical reasons.

Why Telehealth?

UC San Diego Health is a pioneer in the development of telehealth, which began long before COVID-19, to ensure patients have access to timely and effective care, no matter their location. The most established telehealth program at UC San Diego Health is Tele-Stroke, led by Dr. Brett Meyer, Clinical Director of UC San Diego Enterprise Telehealth and Co-Director of the UC San Diego Stroke Center. Dr. Meyer’s team was the first in the US to lead a randomized clinical trial (STRokE DOC) showing the profound benefits of telemedicine in correct decision-making for stroke patients (Lancet Neurology, 2008). By building on this foundation, UC San Diego Health is now able to offer telehealth in almost any specialty or subspecialty available and is one of the few institutions which has received the URAC Telehealth Accreditation designation, awarded by an independent third party that validates performance, privacy, security, safety, outcomes and risk management of telehealth providers in the United States. As a teaching hospital, UC San Diego Health is thrilled to partake in telehealth second opinions with the dedicated physicians at Punta Mita Hospital.

How does it work?

· The patient arrives at Punta Mita Hospital Emergency Room, either by ambulance or private vehicle.

· The PMH ED team assess and stabilizes the patient.

· At this point, the PMH ED doctor has a good idea of what is going on with the patient, and connects to the right UC San Diego Health specialist service through a dedicated pager and

secure, private video session on a computer next to the patient’s bed. This access is available 24/7 and 365 days a year.

· Together, the doctors walk through a review and assessment of the patient. If the patient is conscious, they may ask questions, and any family or companions with the patient are also encouraged to ask questions and share information or concerns they have.

· The group then discusses and agrees upon the best plan of action according to patient’s wishes and comfort levels.

o Hopefully, the patient can remain in Punta Mita and continue enjoying their vacation and follow up with their home provider, if and when needed.

o If not, the patient is able to transfer to a facility in the United States or Canada of their choosing, via air ambulance on standby 24/7 for emergency calls, or come to UC San Diego if they so choose.

o Either way, the PMH physician will provide a written summary of the telehealth consult with UC San Diego Health so the patient can share it with their hometown provider. Both medical teams are available for follow-up discussion on the care of the patient no matter the patient’s final destination.

For more details on the second opinion consultation services, please contact us at +52 329 688 0059 or pmhappointments@puntamitahospital.com