MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- They were competitors, but now Columbia St. Mary's and ProHealth Care are teaming up for what they call the greater good of patients.
"The primary focus is really to enhance the services that we already offer to our market," President of Columbia St. Mary's Hospital Division Allan Spooner said.
The two organizations announced they will jointly develop a cardiothoracic or heart surgery program.
Officials say combining services will provide many benefits for patients.
"To look at advancing our overall heart program, looking at reducing costs for our patients, and bringing more value to the marketplace," President of ProHealth Care's Hospital Division John Robertstad said.
These health providers are looking for outside help to potentially take this new heart program to the national level.
"For example, a Cleveland Clinic, a Mayo Clinic, or other top heart programs across the country," Robertstad said.
The health system chosen will guide the development of this new heart program by potentially bringing in top physicians, support services and new standards of delivering care.
"It makes sense for ProHealth and Columbia St. Mary's to do it together because it gives us the scale to make it very attractive for both regional and national players to figure out a model of care that really works for our two communities," Spooner said.
Officials hope to make a decision on the health system by this summer and begin the development process of the heart program shortly after.