Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute was born in two windowless rooms tucked behind Baptist Hospital’s Emergency Center. It was the brainchild of interventional radiologist Barry Katzen, M.D., a self-described “disruptor” whose out-of-the-box ideas challenged the day’s conventional approaches to caring for patients. As such, the fledgling Institute embraced innovation as one of its key pillars.
For more information on the Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute celebrating 35 years,
Nothing is more rewarding to a physician than to have a patient 25, 30 years down the line and say thank you. I had surgery 25 years ago and I'm still here and to be able to say that we did it collaboratively as a team making team decisions. I think it's the most important part of medicine. It's actually the real future of medicine and the vision of this place was a primary stepping stone in that direction. You just walk around here and you get that sense that everything is buzzing about innovation, about progress, about best care, best services, quality. We want to be the best of the best. That's our goal. I'm sure you're gonna. So this around this beautiful facility. It wasn't like this at the beginning. We take it for granted today because almost all large healthcare systems have heart and vascular institute 35 years ago, that wasn't the case back in the 1980s were probably about four or 500 beds, something like that single standalone hospital. We were in baptist health, we had no more hospital. We had no more facilities that it was a small little community hospital. But if you are only waiting on the sidelines, your patients are not going to be benefit from it. So we would have patients come in who are too ill for surgery and you just have to say, there's nothing we can do. And I think this is a good lead in to Barry Katzen because going back to mid 19 eighties. The executive committee came to me and they said, we would like to have you bring down this young doctor. Barry Katzen from Virginia. I was actually in practice in the Washington Dc area for about 12 years and during that period of time began developing a lot of new procedures that were evolving in this area called image guided therapy. While I was in Washington, some folks from baptist hospital actually attended a meeting I was running in Washington, D. C. And asked if I knew anyone who might be interested in coming down to baptist hospital and establishing this new field there by joining the radiology group. And I actually wrote ultimately a three page white paper describing a new way of delivering care, a multidisciplinary model of healthcare that was patient centered. And if the hospital were interested in the group, we're interested then I might be interested in moving. So we brought Dr. Katzen down and they called him young Dr. Katz and he was all of 34 years old. He talked to the medical staff and he was very, very convincing about building a large world class vascular center in South Florida. In the early days it took Dr. Katzen a lot of convincing to convince me to come down here and help him create this institute. So, when we first arrived here at baptist hospital, dr Katzen as a radiologist was a practicing physician. He saw patients in an office setting. He admitted patients, etcetera. Well that was completely foreign here at baptist hospital. And I said, well this is a new era carol has been a tremendous person in terms of being the chief operating officer for the M. C. V. I. So we have to give her full regard also because it's not one person that runs an organization, it's a great team. Early on. Dr Katzen was well known because he had innovated some areas in particular and rumble ISIS and renal angioplasty and he was a little bit of a maverick because he was in a private practice and most of the people doing this type of work were in academic centers. I didn't want to go into a practice and just be routine and do routine things and the idea of being innovative and creative and doing things for the first time or pushing the envelope, doing things that people hadn't done was super attractive. Dr. Katzen is just so humble and easy going that it is easy to forget just what he's created and accomplished and so many of the things that that I take for granted. So, you know, I came in 2004, this was already a thriving institute like cases were a thing and to imagine someone sort of building that from scratch I think is very amazing. I think the other thing, he also understood the importance of working as a team to getting people together from different specialties who at that time when the institute was founded were not necessarily working together even in academic institutions and medicine at that time was organized into silos. So you had cardiologists treating the heart, you had vascular surgeons treating the leg. Yet there were people treating hypertension, people treating stroke and stroke prevention, the neuro people and nobody was really talking to everybody. He understood that to move forward, we needed to work together between vascular radiology, interventional radiology, diagnostic, cardiology, interventional cardiology and cardiac surgery to work as a team to bring patients better care. The philosophy of the incident was at the time totally revolutionary was the multidisciplinary approach to cardiovascular that says a lot for the organization that took a chance and something that was totally new. You know, in the early days before we moved into the beautiful facility we're in now we had to fight for the ability to expand. There was no building the cat. I was downstairs by the emergency room which now the analysis emergency room. So we sort of moved ourselves into every nook and cranny we could find available to either put a procedure room or put an office or whatever. And indeed we did have some mobile trailers that we had in place outside the institute walls that housed several of our physicians and some of the infrastructure the growth was so rapid that it became obvious to everybody that we needed a building. I would say it was a leap of faith and I did it with some reluctance because it was a lot of money and when I used the term, if you build it, they will come. They came in droves and it was very, very successful. That led to another expansion three years later and five years later and going down the road. So it was one of our most successful when the idea of creating a vascular institute at baptist hospital was formulated, it was formulated to really create a new standard and to create something that would make things better in our south florida community. Cardiovascular care remains the number one driver of cost in the United States and the number one cause of death and disability in the United States. So cardiovascular problems not going away anytime soon. And I think how we more efficiently deliver cardiovascular care will determine our levels of success. Miami cardiac and vascular institute has been at the forefront and has been one of the pioneers really to advancing the image cryotherapy and these new ways of treating patients. And always in close collaboration and partnership with us with Philips to develop new technologies and new systems and new ways of treating patients to have a relationship with is extremely important in all of medicine and to have physician leadership of the kind that we had here where we shared ideas of what we would like to do and have industry be able to develop the technology so that we could actually do it really improve the quality of care. Obviously research is extremely important also and the ability to support research can be challenging in, in our financial markets right now with healthcare. So philanthropy has played an extremely important role. Philanthropy is important to any institution is pushing innovation. You can't pay for innovation with revenue, operating revenue, never does it. Any major institution has to have philanthropic support to support the administration, the research time support physician going and presenting their ideas and exchanging ideas with other physicians globally. Without philanthropic support, they will never be able to drive innovation with operating revenue, it's impossible. Dr Katzen is very successful with philanthropy and his successes with philanthropy have resulted in much of what you see in place, not only just bricks and mortar, but also technology and research. And I think that in combination with the team approach is one of its hallmarks. So we always want to have the most opportunities to help patients. And sometimes that means sort of tackling problems for which there's no known solution and bringing new technology to beer and and and we certainly have a lot of leaders in that space who always are pushing the envelope. When I got here. I was surprised and energized by the level of enthusiasm for some of the crazy advanced innovative procedures we were doing. We have every aspect of our care for cardiovascular services covered with innovative procedures. We were the first one in the city of Miami to do beating heart surgery where you don't put people on the heart lung machine. We were the first ones to do a minimally invasive aortic and mitral valve through smaller incisions so that the recuperation period could be improved. We were the first ones that brought a robot to baptist hospital and baptist health that technology was so advanced that some people had real doubts to it. Mitral valve mini surgery, beating heart surgery, aortic mini surgery, minimally invasive valve surgery. What was very exciting and important about the job that we had related to the marketing and communications was letting the public know about all these great advances because that was going to help them in terms of their own health. So innovation can be a cornerstone to growing a clinical practice and building an academic reputation. And this started very early on and continues through today. I think it's the mindset. I think everybody here really wants to be the most cutting edge facility and program around. I think nationally internationally we want to be recognized as the people who are delivering the most advanced innovative care anywhere. The feeling here in Miami cardiac and vascular institute is that were never at the top. We're always trying to strive higher. And that type of motivation to continue to push forward is what really drives us. It's a work in progress. It always has been a work in progress. I'm not satisfied. I think we've accomplished an awful lot. But we have a huge amount of potential to be much, much better and much more complete. And I know there's an exciting future for M. C. B. I. I think the collaborative atmosphere at Miami cardiac and vascular institute between all the groups of physicians has been what's made it a great place and will continue to make it a great place in the future. And it's really the thing that makes me most proud of what we have here. So those friendships that we warmth, that feeling for other people is such positive energy that it propels education, research and every other aspect of what makes this place great. So I do think we are in excellent position to carry this into the next generation.