Halifax Health and University of Florida Health Collaborate to Enhance Kidney Transplant Program

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. – (September 29, 2017) – Halifax Health and University of Florida Health have collaborated to enhance Halifax Health Medical Center’s nine-year-old kidney transplant program.  This collaboration will help expand the transplant services that the Daytona Beach-based community hospital system provides and will include the reactivation of its living donor program.

“Halifax Health is proud to collaborate with UF Health to grow our transplant program and enhance the services we provide.  This partnership is good news for our entire community and recognizes the importance of providing transplant services to our growing population of patients locally, statewide and nationally who are in need,” explains Matt Petkus, vice president of surgical services for Halifax Health.

With this new collaborative effort, University of Florida’s Division of Transplantation Surgery will assist Halifax Health – Center for Transplant Services with program oversight, surgical directorship, surgical coverage and back-up, reactivation of the living donor program, and program outreach.

“The advantages patients will receive as a result of this partnership include a simpler dual waitlisting process, a living donor transplant option, double-surgeon coverage on cases, and no periods of waitlist inactivity,” says Kelly Vaglica, RN, transplant operations coordinator for Halifax Health.  She adds, “We are especially pleased that the simpler dual waitlist process will allow patients in need of a transplant to be on lists for both Halifax Health and UF Health, which increases their chance of receiving a kidney.”

The University of Florida will assign a dedicated faculty member to Halifax Health to serve as the primary transplant surgeon.  In addition, three Gainesville-based surgeons from the UF Division of Transplantation Surgery will be available to perform surgeries as needed at Halifax Health.  They include:

  • Kenneth Andreoni, MD – An associate professor and chief of the Division of Transplantation Surgery at the University of Florida College of Medicine, Dr. Andreoni is board-certified in general surgery by the American Board of Surgery.  His clinical interests include kidney, pancreas and liver transplant services in both adults and children, as well as public policy in organ transplantation.  Dr. Andreoni is a past president of the United Network for Organ Sharing, the nonprofit organization that manages the nation’s transplant system under contract with the federal government.  In 2012, he was listed as a Top Doctor by U.S. News & World Report
  • Mark W. Johnson, MD, FACS – Dr. Johnson is a professor of surgery in UF College of Medicine’s Division of Transplantation Surgery and surgical director for UF Health’s liver transplant program.  Dr. Johnson’s clinical interests include liver, kidney and pancreas transplantation, complex liver and biliary surgery, liver tumor ablations and advanced laparoscopic surgery.  Prior to joining UF Health, he spent 10 years in Atlanta where he started the liver transplant and hepatobiliary surgery programs at Piedmont Hospital and served as director of its Transplant Institute.  Dr. Johnson is recognized by the renowned Best Doctors in America and the Cambridge Who’s Who Registry of Executives and Professionals
  • Elizabeth Thomas, DO – Dr. Thomas is an assistant professor of surgery in UF College of Medicine’s Division of Transplantation Surgery.  Board-certified by the American Board of Surgery, her clinical interests include the areas of transplantation and liver surgery.  She performs living donor nephrectomies, adult liver transplants, pediatric and adult kidney transplants, pancreas transplants, as well as a wide range of liver resections and liver treatments for benign and malignant liver lesions.  Her research focuses on the use of transcriptomics in developing precision medicine in the field of transplantations, blood product transfusions based on TEG in liver failure and liver transplant patients, liver transplant outcomes in patients with MELD>35, liver transplant outcome studies and living donor nephrectomy quality studies.  She is involved in multiple quality projects through the transplant division at UF Health.

“The clinical excellence and expertise the UF faculty will bring to Halifax Health will be invaluable to our community.  Residents who are in need of a kidney transplant will have the convenience of being treated close to home by leaders in transplantation surgeries,” Petkus says.

For more information on the services and programs offered by the Halifax Health – Center for Transplant Services, call 386.425.4650.

Halifax Health

Recognized by The Joint Commission as a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures, Halifax Health serves Volusia and Flagler counties, providing a continuum of healthcare services through a network of organizations including a tertiary hospital, community hospital, psychiatric services, a cancer treatment center with five outreach locations, the area’s largest hospice, a center for inpatient rehabilitation, primary care walk-in clinics, a walk-in clinic specializing in women’s health, two community clinics, three children’s medical practices, a home healthcare agency, and an exclusive provider organization.  Halifax Health offers the area’s only Level II Trauma Center, Comprehensive Stroke Center, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric Emergency Department, Child and Adolescent Behavioral Services, complete Neurosurgical Services, OB Emergency Department and Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that cares for babies born as early as 28 weeks.  For more information, visit halifaxhealth.org.