In the latest sign that suburban hospitals in central Indiana want to remain independent, Hancock Health and Hendricks Regional Health have joined forces with the Mayo Clinic to get a wider array of outside medical expertise.
The local hospitals and Mayo Clinic announced the relationship Wednesday. In a statement, they said the partnership would provide central Indiana with “excellent health care and keep communities healthy—all while remaining independent.”
The Mayo Clinic Care Network allows small, independent hospitals to tap into the giant health system’s vast system of specialists and researchers to help solve medical problems.
“This is not the Mayo Clinic creating a merger or an acquisition or even a partnership or affiliation,” said Dr. Mark Larson, the network’s medical director. “….Rather, this is a clinically meaningful relationship that allows us to work together to collaborate for care for patients.”
Through the network, providers at Hancock and Hendricks will be able to contact Mayo Clinic specialists to review and discuss complex cases. The two county-owned systems will also have access to Mayo’s database of clinical information on hundreds of medical conditions, with treatment recommendations.
The Mayo Clinic, based in Rochester, Minnesota, is one of the largest and highest-ranked medical systems in the country.
Smaller hospitals are under increasing pressure to merge with larger hospitals, with the top 10 health systems controlling nearly one-quarter of the U.S. market, according to consulting firm Deloitte. In recent years, larger hospital systems saw their revenue grow at twice the rate of the rest of the market.
Hancock Health, one of the smaller health systems in central Indiana, operates a single acute-care hospital in Greenfield, along with several wellness centers and clinics. It said joining the Mayo network would give it immediate access to a wealth of medical expertise.
“Rarely a week goes by that I don’t get a contact from a merger-and-acquisition consultant, because they’re out there working on behalf of large organizations trying to swallow small ones all the time,” Steve Long, president and CEO of Hancock Health, told IBJ.
Dr. Julia Compton, an oncologist and president of Hancock Physicians, said the network will provide quick access to top medical experts.
“Medicine becomes more complex every single day,” she told IBJ. “So when we think about wanting to stay cutting edge, wanting to be able to do everything we can for patients, the ability to pick up the phone and talk to a worldwide expert is literally at our fingertips.”
Hendricks Regional Health operates hospitals in Danville and Brownsburg. Executives there have repeatedly said they want to remain independent. They said joining forces with Mayo Clinic will strengthen its resources.
“It’s the next step in preserving, growing and innovating local access to the most patient-focused, highest quality, specialized care possible,” Kevin Speer, president and CEO of Hendricks Regional Health, said in written comments.