Partnerships allow hospitals to share brands, expertise

Mayo, Cleveland Clinic offer resources and second opinions to affiliates
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The modern era of intensified mergers, acquisitions and partnerships among hospitals often means a mutually beneficial arrangement where numerous smaller providers end up bearing bigger, more prestigious systems' brand names, while larger organizations reap the benefits of the community relationships their partners have built, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Branding has been a key part of hospitals' business strategies in recent years, with many hospital marketers using "brand czars" to build up their professional reputations; engagement among the care delivery team is an integral part of this process, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

For example, Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, and Sibley Memorial Hospital in the District of Columbia, have both joined the Johns Hopkins Medicine family of providers and bear the hospital system's name, but continue to deliver care through community doctors, most of whom are unaffiliated with Johns Hopkins University, according to the article. Meanwhile, patients in need of more specialized care have easier access to Hopkins' resources.

Similarly, Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic, which both already own numerous clinics, are fine-tuning their relationships with partners to share in expertise and insights from research. Mayo's partners pay a subscription fee for access to resources and expertise across specialties, while Cleveland Clinic charges for an initial six-month screening and then a yearly fee for cardiac care expertise, reports U.S. News & World Report. Cleveland Clinic affiliates also have the option of a second opinion.

Since these partnerships are just in the beginning states, it's difficult to tell if the relationships improve care outcomes, Barak Richman, a Duke University professor of law and business administration, told the publication. "I haven't seen any evidence that hospital integrations lead to any improvements in quality or cost reductions," Richman said.

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