Susquehanna Health officials Wednesday announced they are joining with the Cleveland Clinic to bring the best possible cardiac care to the local area.
Surrounded by dozens of medical professionals during a Wednesday morning press conference at Williamsport Regional Medical Center, Susquehanna Health President and CEO Steven Johnson called the affiliation an important milestone.
The need for top quality cardiac care is vital for the region, and officials noted that the health system will be affiliated with one of the best providers in heart services.
Susquehanna Health President and CEO Steve Johnson, center, shakes hands with Cleveland Clinic's Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart Vascular Institute Chairman Dr. Bruce Lytle, right, after Lytle's remarks during the Cleveland Clinic and Susquehanna Heart & Vascular Institute Affliation Ceremony at the Williamsport Regional Medical Center in Williamsport on Wednesday morning. Applauding to the left of Johnson is Susquehanna Health Medical Group President Dr. William McCauley.
"This is a special day," said Dr. Michael Lazar, medical director of Susquehanna Health Heart and Vascular Institute.
The affiliation, he said, will give the health system access to a whole realm of cardiac care.
Officials of Cleveland Clinic's Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute, said Susquehanna Health was looking to their services.
"They approached us and we said, 'sure, it fits into our geography,'" explained Dr. Joseph G. Cacchione, chairman of business operations and strategy.
But it was not a simple as that, he added.
Cleveland Clinic officials liked that Susquehanna had in place a solid administrative structure as well as cardiac physicians willing to train, learn and improve.
No Cleveland Clinic doctors will be based in Williamsport. However, Susquehanna physicians and other health care professionals will visit Cleveland to view operations and communicate with those connected with cardiac and related services.
Patients, it was noted, will benefit from the latest development in research trends, protocols and best practices offered at the Cleveland Clinic. Overall, the Cleveland Clinic has some 150 cardiologists, Lytle noted. Johnson said the affiliation was not a case of any sort of failure by the health system to recruit some of its own excellent cardiac physicians.
"They wouldn't be interested in us if we didn't have top notch people," he said.
Dr. Bruce Lytle, chairman of the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute, conceded that quality heart physicians are difficult to find.
"These people don't grow on trees," he said.
The Cleveland Clinic has a number of similar partnerships with health systems nationwide. Johnson said the affiliation will allow the health system to save expenses for necessary purchases. Lytle said what really distinguishes a health care program is its ability to improve.
"We are here to assist our colleagues to solve problems," he said.
Dr. William McCauley, president of Susquehanna Health Medical Group, briefly recounted how cardiac care has evolved within the health system.
And while officials have always strive to deliver the best possible care for patients, the affiliation takes it one step further, he said.
"This is a very exciting time for us," Lazar added.