Mayo Clinic expands with health system affiliation

Mayo Clinic has added a fifth outside hospital system, Missouri's Heartland Health, to its Mayo Clinic Care Network, Rochester, Minn.-based organization announced yesterday. The two systems have been working together for several years, with Heartland using Mayo's telestroke network in its emergency department.

Under the new nonownership affiliation, Heartland physicians can get second opinions or consultations from Mayo doctors by electronically transferring hospital charts and records, The Kansas City Star reported.

The Heartland affiliation is part of Mayo's efforts to expand geographically without having to spend money to build new facilities, acquire hospitals or consolidate with other organizations, noted HealthLeaders Media.

That expansion strategy has been gaining popularity as hospitals and health systems try to reach more patients and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace without breaking the bank. For instance, MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas and Cleveland Clinic in Ohio both have launched similar affiliations, noted the Kansas City Star.

Moreover, such nonownership relationships can help hospitals improve efficiency and do more with less, according to a recent interview with Cleveland Clinic President and CEO Toby Cosgrove.

"Affiliation agreements allow us to leverage the clinical and intellectual expertise that Cleveland Clinic is known for to benefit patients in new markets and in other healthcare systems, extend our model of care outside of our home region, expand our services and bring in new sources of revenue," Cosgrove told FierceHealthcare.

With other hospitals seeking to embrace Cleveland Clinic's values for quality outcomes and transparency, the organization turned to affiliation agreements. "Affiliations provide opportunities for Cleveland Clinic to do just that: to share our intellectual property and increase the quality of healthcare across the country," Cosgrove said.

To learn more:
- here's the Mayo announcement
- read the Kansas City Star article
- read the HealthLeaders article
- here's FierceHealthcare's interview with Toby Cosgrove