Two Illinois hospitals align for improved cardiovascular care

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St. John’s Hospital’s parent organization has launched a joint partnership with Prairie Cardiovascular physician group as part of a “care integration” project to provide higher-quality services for patients and reduce waste.

The partnership, which gives Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) a voice in the governance of the 47-doctor Prairie group, could allow Prairie to expand its cardiology services to Wisconsin, as well as parts of central and southern Illinois where the Springfield, Ill.-based Prairie doctors do not currently visit or maintain offices.

The financial arrangements in the partnership were not disclosed.

In the short term, hospital officials said that patients will not notice any difference in the care they receive from Prairie or the St. John’s 13 hospitals in Illinois and Wisconsin.

However, in the long term, care could be more convenient and better for patients, according to Stephanie McCutcheon, president and CEO of HSHS. She said that the project will make the health system—with more than 14,000 employees and $1.5 billion in annual net revenues — better able to thrive financially amid major changes in how the federal government and private insurers pay for healthcare.