MetroHealth shifts focus to outpatients


As healthcare markets throughout the country undergo rapid shifts, Cleveland's oldest healthcare system is trying a new strategy--working to attract patients to its outpatient facilities instead of competing for inpatients, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

MetroHealth faced stiff regional competition from the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals for inpatients so rather than trying to compete with their largest counterparts, the organization now aims to capture the market for outpatient services instead.

"If you look at our outpatient expansion, we're going from 850,000 visits to 1.2 million visits," MetroHealth CEO Akram Boutros, M.D., told The Plain Dealer. "That's a big change, and that's the effort you need to get people out of the hospital."

The system has opened several new locations in the area, acquiring numerous facilities from HealthSpan, which will close at the end of the year, and with them 40,000 patients. The system is banking on the growing market for low-cost, convenient services, building on its existing reputation for quality trauma care delivered to low-income patients.

In the near future, Boutros said, MetroHealth will also launch “bed-less” facilities in Parma, Brecksville and Cleveland Heights. Despite the lack of beds, these hospitals will feature services such as emergency rooms, specialty care and operating rooms. The aim, Boutros said, is to deliver as much care as possible to patients while still keeping them as outpatients. 

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