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Hospital, cardiology practices to combine

Providence Health Care and two Spokane-based cardiology groups today announced they will merge this fall to create a national center that could become a destination for patients seeking state-of-the-art heart care.

Providence Chief Executive Dr. Andy Agwunobi said Spokane Cardiology and Heart Clinics Northwest, consolidated as Providence Spokane Heart Institute, will improve the safety, quality and efficiency of care, in part as a response to changes anticipated under health care reform.

Spokane Cardiology President Dr. Braden Batkoff said the Heart Institute would be able to attract more specialists providing a broader array of services to patients who might now travel outside Spokane for treatment.

Dr. Dean Hill, Heart Clinics Northwest president, said the consolidation will also enable the groups to maintain offices in four states, which might not be possible as reforms are implemented.

Agwunobi said financial terms of the merger are still being negotiated.

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Bert Caldwell
Bert Caldwell oversees production of the opinion pages, including writing editorials, and editing and selecting letters, columns and cartoons.





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