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Erie hospital system signs clinical, marketing deal with Cleveland Clinic

| Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, 12:06 p.m.

St. Vincent Health Center in Erie said Tuesday that it reached a clinical affiliation agreement with Cleveland Clinic's Heart and Vascular Institute.

The agreement gives heart patients at the Erie hospital's Heart and Vascular Center access to Cleveland Clinic's advanced research, technology and techniques, as St. Vincent competes with UPMC Hamot. The affiliation takes effect Dec. 1, St. Vincent said.

The clinical affiliation “means that patients in the Erie region who are diagnosed with heart disease will be given the highest level of quality heart care, incorporating the resources, research and practices of the nation's leading heart program,” the hospital said in a statement.

Affiliating with Cleveland Clinic is different from an acquisition agreement St. Vincent reached this month with Pittsburgh-based Highmark Inc.

In the deal with the state's largest health insurer, St. Vincent would receive $65 million over three years from Highmark to shore up its finances and make improvements to its facilities. In exchange, Highmark would appoint 75 percent of the members to St. Vincent's board of directors.

St. Vincent will pay Cleveland Clinic for the right to use its name in marketing and for access to its clinical services. Hospital officials declined to say how much they are paying.

Cleveland Clinic, with the nation's top-rated heart program, has clinical affiliations with hospitals across the country.

Tuesday's announcement is the second clinical affiliation between St. Vincent and the Cleveland Clinic. In February, St. Vincent joined Cleveland Clinic's Telemedicine Network, which provides immediate access to Cleveland Clinic specialists through videoconference equipment.

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