FAIRBANKS — Fairbanks Memorial Hospital operator Foundation Health Partners has joined the Mayo Clinic Care Network in a “collaborative relationship” that will benefit patients, physicians and other staff. Foundation Health Partners CEO Dr. Greg Johnson made the announcement Tuesday morning during a press conference at the hospital. 

The locally owned Foundation Health Partners began operating Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, Tanana Valley Clinic and Denali Center on Jan. 1 after the departure of the Arizona-based Banner Health. 

Johnson called the partnership with the Mayo Clinic the “natural progression” for Foundation Health Partners because it allows them to remain independent while being able to learn best practices from physicians in the other 45 Care Network members. 

“We can learn those best practices, and I’m sure they’re interested in what we have to say as well,” Johnson said. “It’s a two-way street. True collaboration.”

Fairbanks Memorial Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Danny Robinette said this will give physicians an opportunity for “bedside resources in an amazing way.”

Dr. Mark Larson, of the Mayo Clinic, who was at FMH, said the Mayo Clinic will extend its reach to a unique and remote medical environment, and vice versa. 

Larson said physicians at Foundation Health Partners can consult specialists within the network and provided scenarios. 

“You’re a doctor and have a patient with a complex-different problem,” Larson said. “You can submit an e-consult and ask a specialist specific questions. They can reply, you can talk to them on the phone. Most importantly the patient can stay here.” 

Robinette said the FMH staff have been testing these systems and they are ready to use them. He said information sent between doctors in the Mayo Clinic Care Networks is HIPAA-secure, and these consultations will not be an extra cost to the patients. 

Larson said the staff at Foundation Health Partners can stay up to date on the latest and most state-of-the-art medical lectures. Larson said resources are available for all kinds of medical staff including nurses, human resources and other employees. 

Fairbanks Community Health Foundation President Jeff Cook said its three facilities’ new independence in being operated by Foundation Health Partners has opened the doors to options unavailable before and this is one of them. 

Cook said a commercial announcing Foundation Health Partners’ pairing with the Mayo Clinic Care Network will air on television locally over the next couple of days. 

Larson presented Johnson with a crystal plaque commemorating the new relationship between The Mayo Clinic and Foundation Health Partners. 

Contact staff writer Kevin Baird at 459-7575. Follow him Twitter: @FDMNcity.