Lake Health system to merge with University Hospitals

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The agreement will make Lake Health ‘UH’s Lake County flagship community-based health care provider.’

CLEVELAND — One of Greater Cleveland’s last independent hospital system’s will now join one of the region’s “Big Three.”

University Hospitals announced Thursday it has acquired Lake Health for an undisclosed sum. The move will make Lake Health “UH’s Lake County flagship community-based health care provider,” according to a joint press release.

UH CEO Thomas F. Zenty III gave the following statement:

“We look forward to enhancing services and programs for residents in and around Lake County, improving access to specialized care, and to extending Lake Health’s long-standing tradition of providing patient-focused health care close to home. The benefits gained through becoming part of UH will lead to greater value and lower costs of care for Lake Health’s patients.”

Lake Health says it began exploring “strategic partnership options” earlier this year and saw UH as “a like-minded organization that shared its culture and vision in caring for Lake County and the surrounding communities.” The agreement was reached Wednesday by both systems’ respective boards of trustees, although it is still awaiting final government approval.

Lake Health operates 11 medical centers in Lake County as well as Beachwood and Chardon, which will now become property of UH. All of Lake Health’s more than 3,000 current employees along with the organization’s existing affiliations will be retained, with UH committing to provide “equivalent or better” benefits to workers while also giving the facilities access to clinical trials and training.

Cynthia Moore-Hardy, president and CEO of Lake Health, said:

“As part of our mission, Lake Health has been dedicated to compassionate care, delivered when and where people need it most,” said Lake Health CEO Moore-Hardy. “We are carrying that same commitment into the future as part of UH. This partnership was a natural coming together for two organizations that share a strong commitment to providing patients with high-quality care and bettering the communities we serve. And even as we’re excited about this future, we can reassure our current Lake Health patients that they will still be able to receive outstanding care from the same doctors and nurses in the same locations, using the same insurance plan that they do today.”

UH and Lake Health have already been partnering in other ways for years, notably with the Lake Health/University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center in Mentor. UH also became a minority partner in Lake Health’s Beachwood Medical Center in 2019, mostly focusing on orthopedics and urology.

The health care system is growing in other ways, too, as Cleveland Clinic is currently building a new hospital in Mentor.

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