The Cleveland Clinic
said Tuesday that it has chosen North Shore-LIJ Health System
in Great Neck, N.Y., as its exclusive partner in New York for heart-care referrals.
The regional affiliation has two primary tenets, Cleveland Clinic Heart & Vascular Institute Chairman Dr. Bruce Lytle told Modern Healthcare: enhancing heart-care quality and contracting.
In this arrangement, North Shore-LIJ will treat patients in need of cardiac care who are in Cleveland Clinic's national network of large employers
, which includes companies such as retail chains Wal-Mart Stores and Lowe's. Lytle said the heart alliance will also look to contract with accountable care organizations
and other entities that may not have the capacity to handle complex cardiology cases.
Consequently, New York patients will not necessarily have to fly to Cleveland for all heart procedures. Cleveland Clinic and North Shore-LIJ will work together to share best practices, coordinate care and develop programs to improve quality and safety outcomes.
Lytle said this type of alliance—called the Cardiovascular Specialty Network—is essential as providers increasingly work together to manage chronic conditions and improve outcomes for their respective populations. North Shore-LIJ has a “history of continuous process improvement,” Lytle said. “They also realize, as we do, that none of us are perfect, and they have the capacity to get better. That's a cultural fit.”
The clinic also said the partnership will advance the triple-aim mentality. “As the delivery of healthcare continues to evolve and medicine moves from an art to a science, it's crucial that healthcare organizations maintain databases to track clinical measures and quality standards,” Cleveland Clinic CEO Dr. Toby Cosgrove
said in a statement. “This is how healthcare becomes safer, less expensive and more efficient.”
Dr. Stanley Katz, North Shore-LIJ's senior vice president of cardiovascular services, said the affiliation will be a “huge differentiator in a market well-regarded for the quality of cardiac care.”
Brian Maher, practice manager of the Advisory Board Co.'s cardiovascular division, said that's true. While Cleveland Clinic benefits by extending its presence into local and metropolitan areas—possibly attracting referrals for the highest-acuity heart and vascular services—systems such as North Shore-LIJ are able to use the Clinic's brand and expertise to improve their own heart programs.
Cleveland Clinic Heart & Vascular Institute
“Not everyone has the resources or the luxury of building out the most comprehensive program in their market,” Maher said, adding that he expects to see more heart alliances sprout up across the country. “There's a natural opportunity to enter these types of partnerships.”
North Shore-LIJ becomes the second member of Cleveland Clinic's Cardiovascular Specialty Network. MedStar Health, headquartered in Columbia, Md., was the inaugural member
in 2013. Cleveland Clinic hopes to have 15 hospitals in its heart network by the end of 2015.
Cleveland Clinic's Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute also has heart affiliation agreements, separate from its Cardiovascular Specialty Network, with several other systems. Susquehanna Health, Williamsport, Pa., inked the most recent collaboration deal
in February.Follow Bob Herman on Twitter: @MHbherman