Competitor hospitals form joint cardiology physician practice

Saint Luke's Hospital of Kansas City and North Kansas City Hospital have partnered to create a new physician practice that contracts for the cardiology services of Mid America Heart and Lung Surgeons (MAHLS)--a model that sets "a new standard in our nation for cooperation among competitive hospitals," says North Kansas CEO David Carpenter. "[T]o have two large hospitals with very strong programs come together like this is very unique."

Five MAHLS physicians working as an independent physician practice have provided heart and vascular surgical care at both hospitals since 2004, so patients won't see a direct impact on their care. However, the joint practice has already added two additional surgeons--a move that's important due to a national shortage of cardiovascular surgeons.

The two competitors believe that the partnership will help them both improve quality of care by increasing the number of procedures the practice can perform at their facilities. "In [cardiovascular surgery], volume is important, volume makes a difference," Carpenter says. "Volume and quality are linked."

To learn more about the agreement:
- read the Kansas City Business Journal article
- check out the hospitals' joint press release