Beebe Healthcare announced that Kurt E. Wehberg, MD, a board-certified and fellowship-trained cardiothoracic surgeon, will be joining its ranks this September as co-chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery, chief of Robotics, and vice president of Clinical Innovation.
“We are truly excited that Dr. Wehberg has chosen to bring his clinical skills and leadership abilities to our organization,” said Jeffrey M. Fried, FACHE, president and CEO, Beebe Healthcare. “His outstanding track record in cardiac and robotic surgery will help to strengthen both our clinical programs and multidisciplinary teams, and will support our physicians and patients who rely on Beebe Healthcare for their medical needs.”
Wehberg received his medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va., and completed his residency in general surgery at University of Maryland Medical System. He earned a fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery from University of Maryland Medical System. Wehberg is certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery.
“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Wehberg to the Beebe Healthcare team as we continue to develop our Cardiac and Vascular Center of Excellence,” said Rick Schaffner, executive vice president and COO, Beebe Healthcare. “His extensive background in cardiac and thoracic surgery, particularly with his emphasis on robotics, will bring new services and technologies to Beebe Healthcare. As a national leader in robotic surgery, his role in the development of Beebe’s Surgical Robotics program will be critical.”
As part of its proposed services and facilities expansion, Beebe announced it would acquire a surgical robot. Wehberg will be the leader of the robotics program, developing strategic and tactical leadership and oversight. Robotic surgery has many advantages for appropriate patients, including smaller incisions and reduced recovery times.
“The field of surgery is being transformed by robotic innovations,” said Wehberg. “Nearly 90 percent of all patients undergoing thoracic surgery are candidates for robotic techniques. The benefits of robotic surgery are truly revolutionary. For the patient, there are less complications, quicker recovery, less pain and markedly improved satisfaction. For the surgeon, it is absolutely a more advanced operation with improved results. For the hospital, robotics offer a very economically efficient model of healthcare delivery. Robotic surgery is paramount in healthcare institutions so that patients don’t have to travel far to obtain the most advanced type of surgery.”
Prior to to Beebe, Wehberg served as medical director of thoracic oncology, chief of cardiothoracic surgery and director of robotic cardiothoracic surgery at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, Md. He was a founder of both the thoracic oncology and robotic cardiothoracic surgery programs, and he led all three programs to national recognition.
Wehberg was one of the original founders of the Maryland Cardiac Surgery Quality Initiative and helped lead as chairman of the board of directors during its developmental years. His term as chairman ended Jan. 1, 2018. The mission which Wehberg helped develop for the MCSQI was a statewide team collaboration and sharing of outcomes data and research to help foster positive relations among all teams. This team collaboration model led to improved quality of care for tens of thousands of cardiac surgery patients in Maryland, and it now is one of the leading models of improved quality of care in the nation.
“Over the last few years, Beebe’s cardiac services have grown substantially in volume and complexity to attract skilled and motivated cardiologists and surgeons who want to practice in our area,” said Georges Dahr, MD, chair of the cardiology department at Beebe Healthcare. “Dr. Wehberg is no stranger to the local cardiology community. He is well known and respected among our cardiologists. This step will boost our surgical program. We are certain that Dr. Wehberg will be a good addition to our team of cardiologists, surgeons, and cardiac nurses by providing a comprehensive approach and treatment to our patients.”
When speaking about why he chose to practice at Beebe, Wehberg mentioned the dynamic transformation Beebe is undergoing in its healthcare delivery. He cited the multidisciplinary team approach to patient care, state-of-the-art technological advancements, and being on the forefront of clinical innovation as main drivers behind his decision. “Beebe has extraordinary energy,” said Wehberg. “I am very excited to roll up my sleeves and be a part of leading this very positive movement.”