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Who Wins in Cleveland Clinic, CHS Alliance?

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, March 14, 2013

Healthcare reform continues to make strange bedfellows among providers from across the care delivery spectrum as they brace for new demands in an era of lower reimbursements.

The Cleveland Clinic and investor-owned Community Health Systems this week announced that they are forming a "strategic alliance" to reduce costs through operational efficiencies and improved care in both health systems. 

"Years ago you would not see a non-profit academic medical center and a for-profit health system come together. It's a sign of how the times are changing in healthcare," says Eileen Sheil, executive director of corporate communications for the Cleveland Clinic. "We both bring unique strengths to the relationship. They are experts in hospital operations and efficiencies and Cleveland Clinic brings tertiary care services and clinical excellence."

Under the deal both systems will remain independent, but will form joint advisory groups to consider improvement in areas such as clinical services, physician alignment, and integration, supply chain processes and other hospital operations.

"Much of the long-term pieces have yet to be determined, but we are going to start with looking at some selected CHS affiliated hospitals and work with them on the cardiac program and the quality alliance for quality metrics in their hospitals," Sheil says. "We get their expertise in hospital operations and how to run very efficient hospitals. That is something we will greatly benefit from."

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