Beyond the Brand: How Do Small-Large Hospital Affiliations Affect Patient Care?

Alliances between community hospitals and some of the nation’s biggest and most respected institutions, including Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and MD Anderson Cancer Center, have been steadily growing over the last few years. According to The Washington Post, their effects on patient care are overwhelmingly positive, though much depends on the individual affiliation agreements.

These agreements typically involve the smaller hospital paying an annual fee to the flagship institution and strict guidelines for community hospitals’ staff and operations, but each agreement outlines varying levels of association with the flagship institutions. “In some cases, it’s purely branding and in other cases it’s a deep association,” Gerard Anderson, PhD, a professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told The Washington Post.

Many involved in these alliances said that the benefits are innumerable: Patients’ confidence and trust in the care they receive is increased, and doctors at smaller community hospitals can obtain speedy second opinions and streamline visits for those with complex or unusual medical needs.

An Indiana oncologist, Anuj Agarwala, MD, remarked that his hospital’s connection with MD Anderson was helpful, as the affiliation strengthened safety measures and the informed consent process. “Overall it has been a valuable relationship,” he told The Washington Post.

Source: The Washington Post, January 28, 2019.