While COVID-19 was no doubt the story of the year, Northeast Ohio's health care scene grabbed headlines for several other reasons.
Cleveland Clinic and Aetna, a CVS Health Company (NYSE: CVS), announced they would launch a co-branded insurance plan. And Massachusetts-based Devoted Health launched in Ohio, offering Medicare Advantage plans across Cleveland, Akron, Canton and North-Central Ohio.
Also this year, Bravo Wellness became a wholly owned subsidiary of Medical Mutual at the start of January. Bravo, a Cleveland-based provider of employee wellness programs, this summer acquired Chicago-based PUSH Wellness.
The region's health systems continued their growth and consolidation trends of past decades.
Lake Health, which in early 2020 announced its search for a strategic partnership, reached an agreement to join University Hospitals, pending regulatory approval, the two announced in December.
The news came a month after UH announced it would gain a minority interest in Western Reserve Hospital, an independent, physician-owned hospital in Cuyahoga Falls. It will be UH's first inpatient presence in Summit County where hospital ownership has shifted dramatically in the past few years, including in 2015 when Cleveland Clinic acquired Akron General Health System.
At the start of 2020, Summa Health was taking steps toward becoming a subsidiary of Southfield, Mich.-based Beaumont Health, but the deal fell apart. After pausing the process to focus on COVID-19, Beaumont ultimately walked away from partnership plans in May.
Though the pandemic initially slowed down the due diligence process, Cleveland Clinic ultimately reached an agreement with Sisters of Charity for Mercy Medical Center in Canton to become a full member of Cleveland Clinic. The deal is expected to be finalized Feb. 1, pending regulatory approval.
The Clinic also worked to grow its research capacity, establishing two new research centers in April following more than a year of planning: The Center for Immunotherapy and Precision Immuno-Oncology and the Center for Global and Emerging Pathogens Research. This summer, the system also opened its 107,000-square-foot Florida Research and Innovation Center in Port St. Lucie, Fla., which will collaborate with researchers in Cleveland.
Meanwhile, MetroHealth continued its own expansions this year. Alongside the ongoing construction for its nearly $1 billion campus transformation, the system this year announced a $42 million project to expand the number of behavioral health beds in Cleveland Heights and a $9 million investment into its Old Brooklyn campus.
MetroHealth also received a $42 million gift the largest in its history from JoAnn and Bob Glick to support programs that aim to reverse health inequities and improve community health in Greater Cleveland.
In addition to the growth of its health systems, Northeast Ohio's health care options expanded with several newcomers to the region as the market and demand for outpatient health care continues to grow.
NewVista Healthcare, based in Blue Ash (outside Cincinnati), announced plans to open two new substance use disorder (SUD) treatment centers in the Cleveland area. Cincinnati-based Queen City Hospice announced plans to enter the Cleveland market with the launch of Miracle City Hospice. Nashville-based Spero Health opened three Northeast Ohio locations to offer addiction treatment services. This summer, Miami-based ChenMed began opening three planned facilities in the Cleveland area. And Chicago-based Oak Street Health, which began opening primary care centers in Northeast Ohio a couple of years ago, has continued its growth in the region in 2020.
This year has presented what we all hope will be once-in-a-lifetime challenges. It has also sparked collaborations and innovation across the health care industry and beyond. With a vaccine offering a light at the end of the tunnel, health care leaders are beginning to think about how to draw on deepened relationships in the next normal. In the meantime, they continue to ask everyone to wear their masks, practice social distancing. wash their hands and stay safe, especially this holiday season.
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