An inside look at the merger of the Clinic with Akron General

For more than 100 years, Akron General has been providing quality care, delivery and services covering the entire spectrum of health care.

Today, the care you’ve come to know at Akron General is better than ever, as Akron General is now fully part of Cleveland Clinic. This blending of organizations pools the clinical expertise and resources of Cleveland Clinic and Akron General to strengthen and improve access to high-quality, affordable health care services for our patients. This was a great opportunity for both Cleveland Clinic and Akron General; it provides growth opportunities to better serve the communities throughout our region.

This was a yearlong process that included many people from both Cleveland Clinic and Akron General working long hours and juggling the agendas of two very large health care systems. This deal, however, only happened because both sides were amenable to change, accommodating and cooperative. That doesn’t mean that everything was great all the time, but it does mean that everyone had an open mind.

For the Cleveland Clinic, it was recognized that in order to continue to be America’s best, it had to grow and seek out partners that shared their vision and brand of medicine, which focuses on a driving desire to continually improve patient outcomes, embrace innovation and provide the patient with the absolute best care experience.

After a year of what was jokingly referred to as “dating,” Cleveland Clinic found its match in Akron General.

Here is a glimpse at what it takes to make a decision as big as merging health systems.

In our case, we established 17 work teams to explore whether our two entities were compatible — culturally, medically and operationally. Throughout the year, Akron General and Cleveland Clinic collaborated on a number of initiatives resulting in clinical improvements, cost savings and the sharing of best practices.

Many large mutually advantageous projects commenced. As a result of all the long hours working side-by-side with Cleveland Clinic, the decision to become Cleveland Clinic was really quite easy … we were anxious to do more, and the only way to do that would be to merge.

I am convinced that without going through the yearlong process of working together on the 17 very different work streams, from finance to patient care to emergency services, we never would have been able to gauge if or how our respective systems would mesh.

It was a year of learning, insight and growing — for me as a CEO and a physician, and for Akron General as an organization. ●

Thomas L. “Tim” Stover, M.D., MBA is president and CEO at Akron General Health System.