North Shore-LIJ Health System Tuesday jointly announced a new alliance with the famed Cleveland Clinic, a col-laboration aimed at providing New York heart patients greater access to clinical trials as well as advances in cardiac care.
"We are the exclusive partner with the Cleveland Clinic in New York. That's important," Michael J. Dowling, president and CEO of North Shore-LIJ Health System, said during a news conference Tuesday at its headquarters in Manhattan.
The clinic has ranked No. 1 nationally in cardiac care over the past 20 years and selected North Shore-LIJ as a member of its national cardiovascular specialty network following a yearlong assessment of its cardiology, cardiac surgery and electrophysiology programs. Under the new deal, North Shore-LIJ will serve as the regional treatment institution for cardiac referrals from the clinic's contracts held with large employers. For example, patients who work for Lowe's -- one of the clinic's large contracts -- can be treated at North Shore rather than traveling to Ohio.
Michael McMillan, executive director of marketing and network services at Cleveland Clinic, said Wal-Mart and Boeing are two other corporate giants with which the clinic maintains contracts. "We currently are in discussions with many Fortune 500 and Fortune 50 [corporations] and plan to add to that roster," McMillan said.
He noted that alliances with institutions, such as North Shore-LIJ, are key to improving patient care nationwide. "The idea here is to work with organizations that have the best demonstrated outcomes and performance and encourage employees to use those organizations."
North Shore-LIJ consistently ranks high in performance assessments by the New York State Department of Health, which compiles statistical data on outcomes in cardiac stenting and cardiovascular surgery.
In January 2013, Cleveland Clinic announced a similar alliance with MedStar Heart Institute at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.
Cleveland Clinic president and chief executive Dr. Toby Cosgrove said collaborations between large health systems mark yet another way in which the practice of medicine is changing.
"We've gone from an individual sport to a team sport as physicians and certainly health care organizations are now stronger if they combine their strengths and work together," he said.
Founded in 1921, Cleveland Clinic has a reputation garnered not only for clinical and surgical care but for the world-class research conducted through its Lerner Research Institute.
Dr. Stanley Katz, a senior vice president for cardiovascular services at North Shore-LIJ, said he hopes the alliance ushers in an era of vigorous scientific collaboration. "It excites us to be looked at by the Cleveland Clinic to see where we can improve our processes and also improve our outcomes, but also be able to participate with them in various research projects," Katz said.