WellStar Health System, a five-hospital Marietta, Ga.-based system, has joined the Mayo Clinic
Care Network under a non-ownership agreement.
WellStar is now the largest system in the network, which was formed in 2011 and has grown to include healthcare providers in 14 states as well as Puerto Rico and Mexico. The partnership allows WellStar's physicians to have access to Mayo Clinic specialists for consultations on issues ranging from complex patient cases to business processes. The partnership
connects clinicians through electronic tools such as eConsults as well as the Web-based resource, AskMayoExpert. The technology aims to get long-distance answers so patients don't have to travel out of state for specialty care.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Other systems in the network include
Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon, N.H., the Billings (Mont.) Clinic and ThedaCare in Appleton, Wis.
Non-ownership affiliations have been accelerating
over the past 18 months as providers aim to increase their footprint without losing their independence. The arrangements differ in scope, but generally allow providers to expand their clinical network, gain expertise in population health management or achieve economies of scale through joint purchasing.
WellStar has a separate non-ownership alliance with Piedmont Healthcare, Atlanta, with which it is also collaborating
on a health plan.Follow Beth Kutscher on Twitter: @MHbkutscher