Georgia health care systems launch alliance

South, middle Georgia health care systems launch Stratus Healthcare alliance

Associated Press

GREENSBORO, Ga. (AP) -- More than 20 hospitals and 1,500 physicians in south and middle Georgia are launching a health care alliance, officials announced Tuesday.

Health care providers announced the launch of Stratus Healthcare during a press conference at the Ritz Carlton on Reynolds Plantation near Greensboro.

The Central Georgia Health System and Tift Regional Health System first announced a partnership in April 2012, and have worked to recruit additional members for the alliance, Central Georgia Health System spokeswoman Megan Allen said in a release Tuesday.

The alliance is slated to include 23 health facilities, including the Columbus Regional Medical Center, Perry Hospital and the South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta. The initiative will focus on patient access, quality and safety, Allen said. Member hospitals will remain independent while using a shared services model.

Hospitals participating in the alliance will exchange best practices, combine resources and develop a coordinated information system, Allen said.

"It's about the right care, the right access at the right cost," Ninfa Saunders, CEO of the Medical Center of Central Georgia, said in a release. "Initially, the Stratus Healthcare work groups will explore primary care, emergency medicine, hospitalist and specialty care networks to include the development of clinical guidelines, telemedicine connections, transfer arrangements and the sharing of outcomes data," she said.

"Each Stratus partner wants to add value for patients ... yet realizes it could be accomplished much easier through a coordinated effort with other health care organizations," William T. Richardson, Tift Regional Health System CEO said in a written statement. He added that each of the partner facilities will make important contributions to the alliance's collective strength.

Stratus Healthcare is one of the region's largest collaborations of hospitals, health care systems and physicians and the alliance could help participating health care providers reduce costs, Allen said.

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Online: http://www.stratushealthcare.org

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