Paying for best practices
Program links providers, Mayo Clinic resources
Anew program from Mayo Clinic gives regional hospitals the chance to privately learn from and publicly align themselves with the wellknown doctor-run health system in Rochester, Minn.—for a price.
Similar to a long-running affiliation program run by the Cleveland Clinic, the new Mayo Clinic Care Network will allow members to hang Mayo’s logo on their buildings and use the system’s extensive internal knowledge base, Ask Mayo Expert.
Members can consult with Mayo clinicians for specific patient-care advice or get training from administrators on business consulting services.
Mayo officials declined to outline their fee structure, as did Cleveland Clinic, though the one official confirmed that the Cleveland fees can sometimes surpass $1 million a year, depending on their market size.
David Molmen, CEO of the Mayo network’s inaugural member, Altru Health System in Grand Forks, N.D., said that only healthcare providers who share Mayo’s culture and philosophy of patient-centered care are being allowed to join the network and identify themselves as being affiliated with Mayo.
“Obviously, we are very proud to have that identification, and I really appreciate the confidence that Mayo is placing in our ability to reflect positively on that,” Molmen said. “It is a great honor to be selected, but really I think it’s more of an expectation of what we need to be in the future to be worthy of that.”
Dr. David Hayes, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, said the goal is to “diffuse knowledge” to local communities about best practices.
The consultations may result in more acutely ill patients being transferred to Mayo for special treatment, Hayes said, while preventing transfers of other patients who are less sick but in the past may also have been sent to Mayo.
The model is not a new one. Dr. Joseph Cacchione, chairman of operations and strategy for the Cleveland Clinic Heart and Vascular Institute, said his organization has been forming affiliations for heart programs for nearly 10 years and has eight hospitals in the program, with more due this year.
In exchange for paying annual fees that may in some cases top seven figures, Cacchione said, hospitals benefit from clinical expertise and public brand-awareness.
“We never tell anyone that they’re going to grow locally” because of the affiliation, Cacchione said. “But in some places where volumes were trending down, that has stopped because of the affiliation with our brand and the halo effect,” he said. “Some do it as a defense measure, and others do it as a growth strategy.”