University Hospitals Health System said it has formed a joint venture with ValueHealth LLC, a Leawood, Kan.-based digital health company, to create what they called a “network of state-of-the art ambulatory surgical centers.”
The network “will expand UH’s geographic footprint in Northern Ohio for surgical care, focusing initially on orthopedic surgery and targeting hip and knee replacement,” UH said in a news release issued Tuesday, Oct. 13. Subsequent facilities “will be multispecialty and may include clinical services such as otolaryngology, pain management, urology, general surgery and cardiac care,” the release stated.
The release did not indicate how many centers UH and ValueHealth plan to develop, though a UH spokesman said in a phone conversation that the health system is looking at “three to five, initially.” He wrote in a follow-up email that the initial centers “will focus on the western communities in Northeast Ohio,” though specific locations cannot yet be disclosed.
UH and ValueHealth project opening the first center “sometime in 2022,” the health system spokesman wrote in the email.
The release indicated that the joint venture “will explore opportunities to leverage existing UH facilities to accelerate speed to market in creating the centers, which will augment UH’s continuity of care in communities that currently have limited surgical services.”
The surgery centers will use ValueHealth’s digital surgical technology platform to manage risk-sharing and bundled payment programs, according to the release. More than 30 health systems are currently integrated into ValueHealth’s digital surgical network. This venture is the first time UH has worked with ValueHealth.
John Palumbo, executive chairman of ValueHealth, said in a statement that combining his company’s capabilities with UH’s expertise in the ambulatory care space “will significantly move the needle in UH’s value-based care transformation journey.”
Dr. Cliff A. Megerian, president of UH, said in a statement that the system over the past several years has worked “to reduce variation in care while enhancing the service experience, improving quality and reducing cost. We have demonstrated success with national bundled payment and travel surgery programs built around centers of excellence in areas such as joint replacement and bariatric surgery.”
He said ValueHealth’s established relationships with employer consultants and national payors “will augment UH’s ability to design win-win bundled payment contracts, bringing our world-renowned surgical expertise to more consumers in a value-focused model.”