Lake Health is officially a member of the University Hospitals Health System, making the Lake County provider UH's largest addition to date.
The two organizations, which in December announced their intention to integrate, have completed the member substitution process to bring Lake Health into UH, adding multiple hospitals and ambulatory centers and more than 3,000 caregivers and 600 physicians to the Cleveland-based health system, according to a news release.
"The addition of Lake Health expands our geographic footprint and is consistent with our strategy of bringing care close to home for our patients throughout Northeast Ohio," UH CEO Dr. Cliff Megerian said in a provided statement. "It will ensure convenient access to the most advanced healthcare and services for patients in Lake County and surrounding communities now and in the future."
Lake Health will become UH's flagship community-based healthcare provider in Lake County, according to the release, which notes the two organizations will work to ensure patients continue to receive care from the Lake Health doctors and nurses in the same locations they've come to know and trust.
"In UH, we have found a like-minded organization that will allow us to create a stronger future while still being reflective of our mission to the community," said Cynthia Moore-Hardy, president and CEO of Lake Health, in a provided statement. "This future includes a shared commitment to grow our healthcare network while maintaining our community focus to provide top quality and personalized care to our patients."
The move builds on UH's legacy of expanding services at community hospitals and ensuring convenient access to care, according to the release. It follows a late 2020 agreement to obtain a minority interest in Western Reserve Hospital. Announced in November, the partnership with the independent, physician-owned hospital in Cuyahoga Falls gave UH its first inpatient location in Summit County.
UH has committed to work with Lake Health's Board of Trustees, physicians, leadership, employees and volunteers to bring investments, including enhancements to facilities, equipment and services, according to the release. UH also will provide technology, innovative practices, strong clinical research and other initiatives to complement and grow Lake Health's programs.
Lake Health and UH have partnered with one another for many years, most notably through the Lake Health/University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, located at the Lake Health Mentor Campus. In 2019, UH became a minority member of the Lake Health Beachwood Medical Center, an acute care hospital specializing in orthopedics, urology, spine and pain management. Additionally, UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute cardiac and thoracic surgeons began performing surgery last year at Lake Health West Medical Center in Willoughby, according to the release.
Megerian said in the release he is confident that UH's experience "will ensure a smooth and successful integration process" to enhance care delivery and leverage organizational strengths.
"The integration will be guided by a shared philosophy and culture, and that is a commitment to our community and compassionate care," he said. "We have great respect for Lake Health, its leaders, physicians and caregivers, who are dedicated to serving their patients."