Health Care

Via Christi to merge research units

Via Christi said Tuesday it will merge its hospital and clinic research units.

Via Christi Health said in a news release that the Oct. 1 merger will create a single department at Via Christi Hospitals Wichita.

It also will add the research areas of pulmonology, rheumatology, ophthalmology and endocrinology to the hospital’s 12 other areas for clinical studies.

The merger also will enable Via Christi Clinic physicians to expand their outpatient research to include inpatient clinical trials at a 20-bed inpatient clinical research unit at 1100 N. St. Francis.

“We anticipate this merger will provide a synergy to increase the number and quality of clinical trials available to Via Christi Clinic physicians,” said Jack Shellito, president and CEO of Via Christi Clinic, in the release. Via Christi Clinic is the former Wichita Clinic, which Via Christi Health acquired in 2010.

A Via Christi official said plans are being made to grow the business and there are no plans to reduce staff at this time.

And Via Christi Clinic’s research offices will continue to be housed at 3311 E. Murdock.

The merger “broadens each of the capabilities and could lead to research outcomes that ultimately benefit patients and their families,” said Mike Wegner, senior vice president and chief financial officer who also oversees Via Christi Research, in the release.

Via Christi Research has done more than 600 trials involving drugs and devices since its founding in 1987. It typically conducts 50 or more clinical trials a year.