Fisher-Titus, Bellevue hospitals partner with Cleveland Clinic

(UPDATED with full story) Cleveland Clinic heart center to affiliate with two local hospitals.
Cary Ashby
Jun 18, 2013


Fisher-Titus Medical Center and The Bellevue Hospital have a new business partner: The Cleveland Clinic's Sydell and Arnold Family Heart & Vascular Institute.

"We are not merging. We are affiliating and working together," Fisher-Titus President Pat Martin said.

The affiliation is the result of a one-year, comprehensive study and assessment level of cardiovascular and thoracic services available to the two hospitals' six-county service area. Martin said this partnership will strengthen the elements of those services and offer "more and more ... without going somewhere else."

Michael Winthrop, Bellevue's president and CEO, agreed during a press conference to make the announcement Tuesday at Fisher-Titus.

(NOTE - To see pictures of the press conference, click HERE. To see video, click HERE.)

"It's the foundational purpose of this -- helping patients where they feel comfortable," he said. "It gives us access to protocol we don't have otherwise."

Bellevue and Fisher-Titus have had a business relationship for more than 20 years. Winthrop said being a partner with the Cleveland Clinic is another example of working together.

When Martin talked to Winthrop, both of the hospital administrators agreed they can bring more to the community by working together.

This is the 10th affiliation the Cleveland Clinic has. Other hospitals with a similar partnership are in Charlotte and Winston-Salem, N.C.; Washington; Philadelphia and Erie, Pa.

Dr. Joseph Cacchione, chairman of operations and strategy for the Cleveland Clinic's Heart & Vascular Institute, said Cleveland visited 40 other sites in 2012 and hopes to create 25 more affiliations in the next three to five years.

"We don't offer affiliations with every hospital," said Cacchione, an interventional cardiologist.

He stressed that the partnership with Bellevue and Fisher-Titus will be one which focuses on "connectivity."

"A majority of the care needs to remain local," Cacchione said. "We look forward to a long and happy relationship with these two hospitals. ... The relationship couldn't be getting off to a better start."

Cacchione, who said he wakes up every day with a desire to make the Cleveland Clinic better, said he wants Fisher-Titus to "go from being an 'A' student to being an 'A-plus' student."

Dr. Bruce Lytle is the chairman of the Cleveland Clinic's Heart & Vascular Institute and a staff cardiac surgeon. He said the partnership will create an infrastructure so local patients can get the majority of their care in Norwalk and Bellevue.

"The mission is to get everything they need close to home," Lytle said.

In fact, he said it's "in the best interest of patients" to receive all their care at Fisher-Titus or Bellevue.

Starting Sept. 1, the Cleveland Clinic will provide two full-time cardiologists, one full-time vascular surgeon and a part-time thoracic surgeon who will see patients in offices at the Snyder/White Heart & Vascular Center at Fisher-Titus.

"They will be a member of the community and care for members of the community," said Suzanne Inglis, Fisher-Titus assistant vice president of nursing.

Inglis said the new staff members will augment what's happening at Fisher-Titus and Bellevue.

Martin equated the new partnership with having access to "intellectual capital" since the "standard for cardiac care in the nation is the Cleveland Clinic."

"This is the culmination of bringing world-class service to our community," Martin said, but it's far from making Fisher-Titus a "complete hospital."

"We don't think there is such a thing as a complete hospital," Lytle quickly added.

While the Cleveland Clinic is great at providing "detailed care," he said this new partnership is intended to expand the care for "complete services."



Well, Cleveland Clinic is rated the number one best medical center in the United States when it comes to cardiovascular care so I would want to go there over Firelands. It is funny because many people in Sandusky dislike Firelands as much as people in Norwalk dislike Fisher-Titus. However, I am just basing my opinion on the ratings of national medical centers. I know Robin Williams, famous actor & comedian, has enough money that he could have went anywhere in the world to have his open-heart surgery done but yet he chose to have it done at the Cleveland Clinic because he said he wanted to trust his heart care to the best heart center in the US. I suppose I would want to do the same thing and Firelands surely did not even make the list. Also, local care with a connection to the best heart center in the US is a very good thing in my book. Just an FYI, Mayo Clinic in MN, is second, John Hopkins in MD is third, Mass General in MA fourth, and Brigham Women's and Children's in MA is fifth.


So when you have a heart attack and go to FTMC and they can't handle your case, you will get taken to Cleveland -- which is twice as far as Firelands (who could probably handle your situation). I have a real issue with that. I'm going to make sure my family knows that I want to go to Firelands first.


Actually that is untrue. Firelands sends all of their complicated heart cases via lifeflight to either St. Vs in Toledo or the Cleveland Clinic. Just so you know, if you are having an MI, the squad has to take you to the closest heart center, if it is Fisher Titus, that is where you will be taken, you won't be given a choice. After you are stabilized you can request to be transported to another hospital. In the case of a heart attack, time is muscle, so the extra 20 min drive to Firelands could lead to your demise or at the least a worse outcome for you. Oh and just so you know, it is only a 20 min flight from Fisher Titus to Cleveland Clinic, about the same amount of time it takes and ambulance to get from Norwalk to Sandusky.


But isn't it a 7 minute flight from Norwalk to Sandusky? Wouldn't they do that instead of an ambulance if it's that serious?


YEA,even the Muslims come there.Jerry Lewis gets treatment there for his MS also.


Jerry Lewis goes to the Cleveland Clinic for his COPD (emphysema) and says its the best hospital . Too bad he smoked so many years. also FYI Med-Central Cardiac Care is the BEST, . Great Physicans, and great care. and rated number #1 in Ohio

Kottage Kat

Please read article
They will have full time cardiologist at FTMH.
For those with cardiac problems this will save time and $$
Just wonder what affect this has on North Ohio Heart affiliation with FTMH?


had bypass surgery at firelands,would recommend against it,botched surgery,
but a very good cardiologist at north heart straightened it out for me with stents


earlduck they should have put stents in the first time


well tipper its not as simple as described,but the stents repaired the grafts


Had my heart surgery at Firelands, they did an excellent job, and besides my cardiologist is right there at NOH. As far as Cleveland hospitals go, I will take UH or MH over the Clinic. Had bypass surgery at MH as well.


I think it is wonderful that The Bellevue Hospital has all that money to pay the Cleveland Clinic for cardiovascular services but they are no longer contributing to their employess pensions....