Cleveland hospital systems scramble to transform business

Spurred in part by the impact of the U.S. healthcare reform law, three major hospital systems in Cleveland are scrambling to transform their businesses, according to an article in the The Plain Dealer.

University Hospitals is building outpatient clinics across Northeast Ohio. The Cleveland Clinic is making deals to provide care to large employers across the United States. MetroHealth is investing $1.2 billion in its main campus to drastically change how it provides care to patients, the newspaper reports.

The top three Cleveland hospitals are racing to become more efficient, more customer-focused and more accessible to a wider range of patients--essentially starting to act more like real businesses, according to The Plain Dealer. Of the latter, many patients are looking for better value at a time when they are paying higher out-of-pocket costs.

Despite relatively dramatic growth in hospital spending over the past year and the expansion of health insurance coverage to millions of Americans as a result of the Affordable Care Act, acute care facilities still struggle with eroding margins, FierceHealthcare reported last month.

Many hospitals were put in a tough place as a result of the Great Recession; many had weaker finances before the crisis and had a tough time recovering after it. And even though Medicaid expansion under the ACA has helped hospitals with their bad debt, it has done little to boost revenue or margins.

The ACA also imposed new requirements for effectiveness and efficiency, including reimbursement cuts of 10 percent to 20 percent, according to the article.

"We are shooting to transform how healthcare gets delivered in Cuyahoga County and, through our example, the nation," MetroHealth CEO Akram Boutros, M.D., told the paper.

The Cleveland Clinic has had success with accountable care and improving patient safety and care access, according to CEO Toby Cosgrove, M.D., who spoke in July at the sixth annual National ACO Summit in the District of Columbia, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

The clinic launched its accountable care organization this year, integrating primary and specialty care, which "yields quality, safety and affordability," he said. The ACO, which includes about 5,000 quality physicians covering 60,000 Medicare patients, has already shown promising results, he said, with all quality measures above the 50th percentile.

To learn more:
- here's the article

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