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  • May 05, 2013

Cambridge Health Alliance and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Sign Clinical and Academic Affiliation Agreement

Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have signed an agreement to form a clinical and academic affiliation to enhance care provided by both institutions.

“We are excited to join forces with one of the nation’s preeminent academic medical centers to provide high-quality, coordinated, and cost-effective care in our patients’ local communities,” said Patrick Wardell, Chief Executive Officer of Cambridge Health Alliance, which operates three hospital campuses and a network of primary and specialty care practices in Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston’s metro-north communities. “At the heart of this partnership is a mutual commitment to improve the health of the communities we serve.”

“Cambridge Health Alliance has a proud history of providing quality care to its communities,” said Kevin Tabb, MD, BIDMC’s President and CEO. “It is exactly the kind of quality community healthcare provider we embrace as vital to our growing network of hospitals and physicians. This affiliation represents an important part of our strategy of working with community health care providers to deliver the right care in the right place at the right time.”

CHA patients will benefit from enhanced coordination, including shared electronic medical records, when they need more complex care from BIDMC specialists. BIDMC patients will benefit from access to CHA’s community hospital services, ensuring they will be able to receive high-quality care close to home.

Implementation of the affiliation is pending review by the state’s Health Policy Commission as required under Massachusetts’ 2012 health care reform law.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, CHA and its physicians will join the Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization (BIDCO), an accountable care organization formed by BIDMC and Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians at BIDMC earlier this year. BIDCO will become the primary physician contracting organization for CHA, allowing physicians to share risk and invest in the infrastructure and care management systems necessary to manage populations of patients and coordinate their care under a global payment structure.

Approximately 20 percent of CHA’s primary care physicians will continue to be part of the Mount Auburn Cambridge Independent Practice Association (MACIPA).

The partnership will allow CHA and BIDMC to better integrate care for their patients, both in and out of the hospital setting. Key to this is the organizations’ compatible electronic health records systems, which will facilitate seamless delivery of care across all sites. Physicians and staff at both organizations will be able to monitor all jointly managed patients’ clinical histories, including test results, medication histories, and ED visits, improving accuracy and health outcomes while reducing duplicate testing and lowering costs.

The organizations’ shared values played a key role in forming the partnership. CHA, one of the nation’s leading public healthcare systems, provides culturally competent care to vulnerable and diverse populations that traditionally experience barriers to care. BIDMC, formed in 1996 through the merger of Beth Israel Hospital and New England Deaconess Hospital, two of the nation’s foremost teaching hospitals, has a deep legacy of community service and is affiliated with seven community health centers operating at 19 sites throughout the region.

CHA and BIDMC, which are both Harvard Medical School teaching hospitals, will collaborate on academic teaching and research to improve patient care and foster the next generation of medical professionals. CHA will continue to serve as a surgical rotation site for BIDMC surgery residents, while CHA residents will continue to perform cardiology and family medicine rotations at BIDMC. BIDMC residents in emergency medicine will also have training rotations at CHA. The organizations will explore other opportunities to enhance their respective residency and fellowship programs.

“This is an important component of our transformation into a high-performing, high-value health system that can better adapt to a rapidly changing marketplace with new payment models that aim to improve population health,” added Wardell.

With this partnership, CHA retains its own governance structure and remains a public healthcare system committed to serving the underserved. Finalizing the affiliation agreement enables CHA and BIDMC to move forward to serve their patients, employing a formal and ongoing process to explore joint clinical programs, synergies, potential investments, and program partnerships.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching, and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and currently ranks third in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide.

BIDMC has a network of community partners that includes Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham, Anna Jaques Hospital, Lawrence General Hospital, Commonwealth Hematology-Oncology, Beth Israel Deaconess HealthCare, Community Care Alliance and Atrius Health. BIDMC is also clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and Hebrew Senior Life and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, visit

Cambridge Health Alliance is an integrated, award-winning healthcare system that provides high-quality care in Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston’s metro-north communities. It includes three hospital campuses, a network of primary care and specialty practices, and the Cambridge Public Health Dept. CHA is a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate and is also affiliated with Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and Tufts University School of Medicine. For more information, visit

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