Atlanta-based Emory Healthcare is partnering with Stratus Healthcare, an affiliation of 21 hospitals around Georgia, to develop a clinically integrated network and strengthen access to specialty care.
The two groups also will explore expediting access to Emory clinics for Stratus affiliates as well as closer collaboration on medical record connectivity for physicians to ensure care coordination, the two sides said in a news release.
Formed in 2013, Stratus is a non-equity affiliation of 21 hospitals and 1,500 physicians created to share best practices, develop coordinated IT systems and manage population health. Many of the hospitals are small and rural. Stratus was co-founded by Ninfa Saunders, CEO of Navicent Health in Macon, Ga. Emory is a six-hospital, academic healthcare system with more than 2,000 faculty members, and employed and network physicians in 70 specialties.
Emory's services are meant to help Stratus hospitals take care of community healthcare needs while offering access to Emory's specialty care.
Saunders and Emory Healthcare CEO Dr. Jonathan Lewin are not ruling out the possibility that Stratus hospitals may eventually want to merge with Emory or another system. But an affiliation is as far as they want to look for now.
“We could be growing by buying and merging but we could not fulfill our strategic goals,” Lewin said.