April 7, 2009

UCMC, Holy Cross join

The University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) is forming a clinical collaboration with Holy Cross Hospital, a nonprofit hospital located on West 68th Street, about five miles west of campus.

Older patients, who need hospitalization but not the highly specialized equipment that the UCMC maintains, will receive constant in-patient care at Holy Cross, a community hospital, beginning Monday. Since 2006, the UCMC has had, and will maintain, a comparable relationship with Mercy hospital.

According to the UCMC press release, this arrangement aims to “expand accessibility, medical excellence, and personalized treatment for the patients in our communities.”

The partnership was formed because it made “financial as well as clinical sense,” according to the release. The Medical Center cut $100 million from its budget last quarter in response to the financial downturn and has since made a number of changes to reduce costs, including the layoff of 450 hospital employees.

The UCMC asserts that the partnership with Holy Cross is a win-win situation, raising both the efficiency of the hospitals and improving patient care. “It is more of an effort of the University and a series of partners around the South Side to use health care resources more efficiently,” spokesman John Easton said.

Furthermore, Easton said he views the move as a logical one for the hospital. “Geriatrics don't need high technology. It makes sense to put them in a platform where costs are much lower,” he said.

Easton said there are no plans to branch out to disciplines beyond geriatrics in the future. “We don’t want to compete with them,” said Easton of the neighboring hospitals. “We want to be partners with them.”