2 northern Ohio hospital systems announce alliance

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Two hospital systems with a big presence in northern Ohio say their new alliance will improve access to health care and allow them to share techniques to treat patients while also cutting costs.

The deal announced Thursday between the Cleveland Clinic and Toledo-based ProMedica centers on making services more efficient at a time when health care systems are facing higher costs.

“Things have changed so dramatically, and we’re undergoing so much change that we need to do things in a much more effective and efficient manner,” Randy Oostra, ProMedica’s president and chief executive officer, told The Blade newspaper in Toledo.

ProMedica operates nine hospitals in northwest Ohio and two in southeast Michigan. The Cleveland Clinic operates nine hospitals in northeast Ohio.

The alliance isn’t a merger, and both health care systems will continue to operate independently. Instead, they’ll work together to save costs and share their expertise. They also will continue to look at adding more partners.

Potential savings could come from buying equipment together at discounted prices, sharing ways to treat patients and developing technology together.

These partnerships will benefit patients by reducing costs, said Toby Cosgrove, the Cleveland Clinic’s president and chief executive.

“In this transformational time in health care, a new level of collaboration is required and health systems are integrating in unique ways,” he said.

It’s the second time the two health care companies have teamed up. ProMedica and the Cleveland Clinic agreed last year to work together on the development and commercialization of medical technology.

The latest agreement will help ProMedica hospitals recruit doctors, Oostra said.

Changes in health care are forcing providers to invest more and standardize operations to become more efficient, said Stephen Staelin, chairman of ProMedica’s board of trustees.

“It makes it very difficult for hospitals to stand alone or small systems to operate in this new environment,” he said.

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