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Akron Children's Hospital teams up with Cincinnati Children's Hospital to expand specialist care

A photo of the exterior of Akron Children's Hospital.
J. Nungesser
Ideastream Public Media
Akron Children's Hospital will share resources with Cincinnati Children's Hospital as part of an expanded partnership.

Akron Children's Hospital will expand services through a partnership with Cincinnati Children's Hospital, the two health care systems announced Tuesday.

The collaboration means Akron will now offer more specialists, post-kidney and liver transplant care, and insurance coverage for bone marrow transplants to its patients in-network.

The new services will affect about 10% of patients, who might have had to travel for specialized care, said Christopher Gessner, Akron Children’s CEO.

“When kids get sick, the whole family gets sick," he said. "Health care is hard when you're remote and far away from your family, so the sooner we can get them back closer to where they live, the better experience it is for everyone.”

Cincinnati Children’s will share several of its specialists with Akron Children’s by relocating some of its doctors to Akron, having doctors travel or making them available through telehealth appointments.

The arrangement benefits both health systems, Gessner said. For example, Cincinnati Children’s will place several of its Ear Nose and Throat pediatric fellows in Akron, but they will remain employees of Cincinnati Children’s, he said.

“We've been recruiting a pediatric hepatologist for years and have been unsuccessful. That's largely because pediatric hepatologists, or liver doctors, want to be in a transplant center," Gessner said. "So instead of us recruiting, we're now leasing that expertise from Cincinnati Children's and making that care available for kids here.”

Even with the collaboration, the hospitals do not plan to merge, Gessner said.

Taylor Wizner is a health reporter with Ideastream Public Media.