ELYRIA — EMH Regional Healthcare System and North Ohio Heart Center, Inc. announced Tuesday that they are joining forces.
To take effect Sept. 1, the agreement between the two major healthcare providers will expand the EMH system by 22 cardiologists and 24 primary care doctors.
The new affiliation, which will operate as North Ohio Heart Inc., is an example of a national trend toward partnerships between large physician groups and hospitals, according to Dr. Donald Sheldon, president and CEO of EMH Regional Healthcare System.
“North Ohio Heart Center, Ohio Medical Group and EMH have had an excellent, longstanding relationship, so this agreement seemed like a logical next step,” said Dr. John Schaeffer, president and chairman of the Board of North Ohio Heart Center, Inc. “Our physicians have been practicing at EMH Regional Medical Center for over 30 years, and for that reason, we expect this to be a seamless transition for our physicians, staff and especially our patients.”
Schaeffer said he expected the new partnership to result in “better care and service for our patients at all of our existing locations throughout northern Ohio. Our relationships with the many hospitals we serve will also remain un-changed.”
“The numerous accolades that EMH has accumulated over the years for our quality cardiac care has been a tribute to the EMH team of healthcare profes-sionals, and the physicians and staff of North Ohio Heart Center have certainly played a significant role,” Sheldon said. “This agreement preserves the high level of cardiology and primary care services currently available in Elyria and Lorain County.”
Although the 22 cardiologists practicing at North Ohio Heart Center and Ohio Medical Group will become employees of a new venture known as North Ohio Heart, the 24 primary care doctors of the existing organization will continue to operate as Ohio Medical Group, which will maintain all existing services and offices at 12 locations in Lorain, Medina, Erie, Huron and Cuyahoga counties.
Patients who now see doctors at those locations will continue to dial the same phone numbers to schedule appointments.
Founded by Schaeffer in 1975 in Lorain, North Ohio Heart Center teamed with Ohio Medical Group in 1999. The combined practice employs 240 people. It handled more than 130,000 patient visits in 2009.