Cambridge Health Alliance, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center sign affiliation agreement

Cambridge Health Alliance and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center said Thursday that they have signed an agreement to form a clinical and academic affiliation to enhance care provided by both institutions.

Cambridge Health Alliance patients will benefit from enhanced coordination, including shared electronic medical records, when they need more complex care from BIDMC specialists. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center patients will benefit from access to CHA’s community hospital services, ensuring they will be able to receive high-quality care close to home, the two said in a press release.

In October, the two said they had entered exclusive talks to explore a potential affiliation.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Cambridge Health Alliance has been seeking a partnership with a financially stronger hospital system for at least two years. Cambridge Health Alliance operates Cambridge Hospital as well as Somerville Hospital and Whidden Memorial Hospital in Everett. All of them are so-called safety net hospitals, meaning they treat large numbers of low-income patients.

The affiliation between Cambridge Health Alliance and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is pending review by the state’s Health Policy Commission as required under Massachusetts’ 2012 health care reform law, the two said.

The agreement to affiliate comes as health care economics are driving consolidation in the industry as health care providers seek to lower costs.