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Williamsport (Pa.) Regional Medical Center is the flagship of Susquehanna Health, the latest system to affiliate with the Cleveland Clinic on heart services.
Williamsport (Pa.) Regional Medical Center is the flagship of Susquehanna Health, the latest system to affiliate with the Cleveland Clinic on heart services.

Regional News/Northeast: Pa. system, Cleveland Clinic collaborate on heart care, and other news


By Jaimy Lee and Melanie Evans
Posted: February 22, 2014 - 12:01 am ET
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Susquehanna Health, which operates four hospitals in Pennsylvania, has formed an affiliation agreement for heart and vascular services with the Cleveland Clinic.

The Cleveland Clinic, which operates 11 hospitals in Florida and Ohio, has established 15 such affiliations with health systems through its Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute. Including Susquehanna's hospitals, six hospitals in Pennsylvania now share similar affiliations with the clinic.

As part of the agreement, the local hospitals' patients will have access to clinical trials, treatment protocols and research programs developed by the Cleveland Clinic, one of the top providers of heart care in the U.S. Susquehanna's clinical staff will have weekly teleconferencing meetings with Cleveland Clinic clinicians and are expected to visit Cleveland to study the academic medical center's operations, including its related work in pharmacy, respiratory therapy and cardiac rehabilitation.

“Collaborations like this are good for patients because they are evidence that their local healthcare provider is striving to provide them with the most advanced care and has a future-looking focus,”

Dr. Bruce Lytle, chairman of the Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute, said in a written statement.

Follow Jaimy Lee on Twitter: @MHjlee

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Highmark looks to add another Pa. Blues plan, expanding clout in state

Insurance giant Highmark would broaden its reach in its core business across Pennsylvania under a proposed merger announced last week, less than a year after expanding into healthcare delivery by acquiring a distressed hospital system based in Pittsburgh.

Highmark, a not-for-profit Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee based in Pittsburgh and the state's largest insurer, would add the half-million members of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania to its 4.3 million enrollees across 46 western and central Pennsylvania counties if state regulators approve the transaction.

Healthcare has been an active market for mergers and acquisitions, with large players consolidating markets, and in some cases, diversifying across sectors, as was the case with Highmark's acquisition of financially faltering West Penn Allegheny Health System last April. West Penn now operates as Highmark's Allegheny Health Network.

Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, which already contracts with Highmark for claims processing, will benefit from Highmark's larger scale and resources to meet with the sector's increased regulatory requirements, said Highmark spokesman Aaron Billger. Highmark also owns a stake in two Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania subsidiaries.

Follow Melanie Evans on Twitter: @MHmevans


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