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Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 11:43am

23 Ga. Hospitals Forge Partnership

23 hospitals across central and southern Georgia are joining forces, in a collaborative that will also include about 1,500 physicians. Tuesday's unveiling of the new Stratus Healthcare makes it one of the largest such networks in the country.

The hospitals, including Columbus Regional Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia, will remain independent. But members will share resources and information, said Jean Aycock of Oconee Regional Medical Center in Milledgeville.

"We’re going to have avenues to bring needed services and specialists to smaller communities like ours, which can be very difficult and costly without partnerships like this one," Aycock said.

The collaboration will better prepare its members for changes coming under the Affordable Care Act, said Central Georgia Health System CEO Ninfa Saunders.

Over time, providers won't be paid on the basis of how many procedures they do, but how healthy they keep their patients. By grouping together, providers will be able to reduce duplication of services and improve care, Saunders said. "It is our intent that cost of care and the value of care will come together in a masterful way," she said.

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