Newswise — Palos Community Hospital and Loyola University Medical Center announced April 2 plans to join together to create an innovative affiliation in Illinois. With a focus on coordinated and collaborative patient care, the affiliation presents a new way to build a network of care that doesn't involve mergers, acquisitions or consolidations, a trend in today’s evolving health care landscape.

“Given each organization’s clinical strengths and strong financial position, as well as our geographic proximity to each other, this affiliation proved a perfect fit,” said Larry Goldberg, president and CEO of Maywood-based Loyola University Health System. “This will create a network of care that provides the right service for the patient at the right location at the right time.”

The affiliation takes effect immediately. It will give patients greater access to Loyola’s renowned specialty care services, such as neurosciences and oncology, while ensuring continued access to Palos’ primary care network. The affiliation could also include plans to jointly respond to a growing demand for outpatient services in the southwest suburbs.

Bucking the prevailing trend in healthcare, Palos will remain independent. Each organization will maintain its own culture, mission and commitment to the community, and financial and organizational structures will remain separate.

“This allows us to remain the community hospital our patients expect and deserve while providing them a quick and efficient way to get the highly specialized care they may require from a leading academic affiliate,” said Dr. Terrence Moisan, president and CEO of Palos Heights-based Palos Community Hospital. “Our goal is not to get bigger – it’s to get better. We’re placing collaboration above ego by taking the best of what Palos offers and the best of what Loyola offers, creating an innovative network serving patients in the southwest suburbs.”

The affiliation allows both organizations to respond to the challenges of health care reform, share research and expand training and educational opportunities. By providing complementary services, both systems will avoid unnecessary and costly duplication of services in the future. Patients will also benefit from both providers working from the same electronic medical record platform to improve quality and outcomes and ensure seamless collaboration. Palos recently invested $50 million in a state-of-the-art medical records program that is compatible with the system used by Loyola, making it easier for clinicians to access medical records across both systems.