Posted: February 01, 2005
TARRANT COUNTY PHYSICIANS GROUPS MERGE
The two largest physicians groups in Tarrant County will merge by year’s end.
The University of North Texas Physicians Group will merge with the North Texas Affiliated Medical Group to form a new not-for-profit organization. Both groups are currently not-for-profits. The merger will result in the largest physicians group in Tarrant County.
“This merger of two major physicians groups should act as an economic stimulus for increased medical research, education and enhanced patient care, adding jobs and improving the quality of life for Tarrant County residents,” said Bill Thornton, president of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.
The UNT Physicians Group is a 110-member physicians group affiliated with the University of North Texas Health Science Center that provides services to more than 200,000 Fort Worth-area patients yearly. Its physicians are faculty members at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, part of the Fort Worth-based health science center.
“We believe that this merger will improve both the quality of and access to patient-centered care for all Tarrant County residents,” said Marc B. Hahn, DO, dean of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine and chairman of the UNT Physicians Group. “In addition, the enhanced clinical faculty will offer benefits to our medical school and physician assistant programs on the health science center campus.”
The North Texas Affiliated Medical Group is a 174-member physicians group that provides service to nearly 500,000 Tarrant County residents yearly. The group has provided the majority of the medical staff at John Peter Smith Hospital and its neighborhood health centers for almost 10 years. Currently, these doctors also provide most of the training for residency programs at JPS.
“Around the country, large multi-specialty groups and medical schools are at the forefront in innovation and quality improvements in medical care,” said Charles Webber, MD, chairman of the North Texas Affiliated Medical Group. “The size of the combined groups as well as the affiliation with our local medical school, will put us in a position to be that sort of catalyst in Fort Worth.”
State representative Charlie Geren also sees the merger as a step in the right direction for healthcare in Tarrant County.
“The merger of these two groups creates a synergy that should positively impact the provision of healthcare in Tarrant County and the educational opportunities for our doctors of tomorrow,” Rep. Geren said. “I fully expect the newly formed group will continue good-faith negotiations with the Tarrant County Hospital District to insure a complete range of services are provided at JPS.”
Some of the doctors in the new group will continue to work out of the clinics on health science center campus. Others will maintain offices at satellite locations around Tarrant County. The new group will span all specialties of medical practice and most subspecialties. For patients, that means improved access to quality healthcare.
“Our constituents seek increased opportunities for specialty care within our community,” said Devoyd Jennings, president of the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce. “We believe a merger that offers approximately 300 providers of medical care will allow this to happen.”
With the merger, the two physicians groups plan to tie all practices into a network of physicians that can enhance patient care by sharing medical records, care planning, and patient education.
“We are supportive of actions that can improve access to medical care and increase efficiency in its delivery,” said Rosa Navejar, president of the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “This merger provides that opportunity.”
The new group will also provide the health science center with more clinical faculty members and researchers, promoting the health science center’s goal to achieve excellence in education and research. For students at the medical school, that means an opportunity to learn from a wider variety of specialists.
“This is an exciting opportunity for both groups,” said Ronald Blanck, DO, president of the health science center. “And this is an exciting opportunity for our students.”
Since both physicians groups already share a commitment to education, research and patient care prior to their merger, the new group will continue that focus and deepen its community focus in an effort to provide better medical care for all Tarrant County residents.
Business details of the merger should be finalized over a six to eight month period.
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