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Leadership Changes Reinvigorate Cleveland Health Care Market

Two Large Hospital Systems Maintain Market Dominance

News Release
June 8, 2005

Alwyn Cassil (202) 264-3484 or

WASHINGTON, DC—New leaders at Cleveland’s two major hospital systems—the Cleveland Clinic Health System (CCHS) and University Hospitals Health System (UHHS)—have helped strengthen the organizations’ financial positions and soothe long-standing rivalries, according to a new Community Report from the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC).

After years of intense competition, the leadership changes were viewed as bringing fresh perspectives that have fostered new collaborations across Cleveland’s health organizations. For example, UHHS, CCHS, MetroHealth, the Veterans Administration and Case Western Reserve University are collaborating on a $50-million stem cell and colon cancer research initiative.

But as leadership changes help to stabilize the markets’ two major hospital systems, intense competition may resume, especially for lucrative specialty services such as orthopedics.

"With Cleveland’s two hospital systems in stronger financial positions again, there are likely to be renewed efforts to expand facilities and amenities to attract patients that could lead to duplication of services and excess capacity," said Cara S. Lesser, M.P.P., director of site visits for HSC, a nonpartisan policy research organization funded principally by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Other key findings of the report, Leadership Changes Reinvigorate Cleveland’s Health Care Market, which is available online at, include:

  • Health plans have expanded consumer-oriented products and programs but did not aggressively provide patients with cost and quality information about providers.
  • New leadership at public health organizations has led to community-wide collaborations to expand public health, clinical research and clinical data-sharing efforts.
  • Safety net providers are struggling with rising numbers of uninsured people amid state and local government budget woes.
  • The rising cost of malpractice liability insurance has led to intensified political lobbying and the unwillingness of some physicians to provide on-call emergency department coverage.

Cleveland is one of 12 communities across the country tracked intensively by HSC researchers through site visits. The new report is based on a January 2005 site visit and interviews with more than 85 Cleveland health care leaders, representing health plans, employers, hospitals, physicians and policy makers.

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The Center for Studying Health System Change is a nonpartisan policy research organization committed to providing objective and timely research on the nation’s changing health system to help inform policy makers and contribute to better health care policy. HSC, based in Washington, D.C., is funded principally by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is affiliated with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.


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The Center for Studying Health System Change Ceased operation on Dec. 31, 2013.