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At a glance
Community Health Systems
What: For-profit health care provider
Based: Franklin, Tenn.
Locations: 135 hospitals – plus urgent care centers, doctors’ offices, etc. – in 29 states
Employees: About 72,000 full time and 24,000 part time
Licensed beds: 20,334
2012 Earnings: $266 million
Cleveland Clinic
What: Non-profit academic medical center with 120 medical specialties and subspecialties
Based: Cleveland, Ohio
Notable: A pioneer in coronary artery bypass surgery and site of the first face transplant in the U.S.

Lutheran allies with clinic

Partnering with Cleveland hospital expands access to resources, expertise


Lutheran Health Network’s parent company has forged a strategic alliance with the Cleveland Clinic.

Partnering with the internationally known and respected health care provider will allow Lutheran Hospital and Community Health Systems’ other 134 other hospitals to draw on “extensive resources and expertise” to improve the care they deliver, Wayne Smith, the organization’s chairman said Monday.

In the future, he said, local patients might be able to forego trips to northeast Ohio to receive the same specialized treatment in Fort Wayne.

Smith, who is also president and CEO, spoke from his Tennessee office during a tightly scheduled 10-minute interview with The Journal Gazette.

The health care providers will compare practices in areas including clinical services and supply chain processes, according to a statement released March 11. The organizations will remain independent.

The collaboration will begin by focusing on three areas, including cardiovascular services. Cleveland Clinic will work with selected hospitals to apply methods developed by Cleveland’s Heart & Vascular Institute. It hasn’t been decided whether Lutheran Heart Center will be included in that program, Smith said.

U.S. News & World Report – an independent organization – has given No. 1 rankings to Cleveland Clinic’s Heart & Vascular Institute and Urological & Kidney Institute. The Digestive Disease Institute ranked No. 2 nationally. And the Orthopaedic & Rheumatologic Institute ranked No. 2 for rheumatology and No. 3 for orthopedic surgery.

Cleveland Clinic employs 2,000 scientists and support staff who work in 700,000 square feet of research space. Its patients come from all 50 U.S. states and more than 125 countries annually.

Last year, Cleveland Clinic announced plans to collaborate with the University of Notre Dame to develop medical technology and speed innovations to market faster.The partnership seems to be helping the Tennessee corporation.

Community Health’s stock was upgraded Monday to buy from hold by an analyst with Jefferies Capital Partners.

While Cleveland Clinic brings to the table some of the highest-quality medical practices, for-profit Community Health brings experience with controlling expenses.

Smith bristled at the suggestion that managing costs will be a significant part of his organization’s contribution to the partnership. That’s even though “reduce costs” is listed in the first sentence of the organizations’ joint announcement.

“This is really not about anything other than quality right now,” Smith said.