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Physician groups detail plans to merge

Physician groups detail plans to merge

The demands of a changing health care market are a big part of the reason why two large Capital Region physicians' health care groups will combine, officials of the organizations said Friday.

Community Care Physicians and CapitalCare Medical Group, both physician-owned organizations that, between them, have more than 1,800 employees, plan to combine in coming months, though there is no deadline. For now, no changes in the workforce are planned.

The new organization will be known as Capital Community Care Physicians and will be known by the acronym "CCP."

"The health care landscape is changing," said Joan Regan Hayner, CapitalCare's CEO. "We are facing increasing downward pressure on cost, while facing lofty goals for improved outcomes."

"We share a vision for the future of health care," said Dr. Shirish Parikh, founder, chairman and CEO of Community Care Physicians. "Our goal has always been to remain independent and continue to focus on what's in the best interest of our patients. This consolidation will enhance our delivery of top-quality, coordinated patient care by integrating the strengths of both medical groups."

Community Care Physicians is the largest independent multi-specialty medical group in the region, with 1,200 employees, including 270 doctors or other medical practitioners. CapitalCare has about 650 employees, including 130 practitioners.

In an interview, Hayner acknowledged the consolidation is taking place against the backdrop of fresh uncertainty regarding changes or repeal of the Affordable Care Act -- though she noted merger talks began months before the November election's outcome was known. She said both organizations have dealt effectively with the changes required by the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, which President Donald Trump and the Republican Congress want to repeal and replace with a national health care plan that has yet to be detailed.

"We've been living in an environment of uncertainty for years, and now it's been increased exponentially," Hayner said.

CapitalCare offers physician specialties not offered within Community Care Physicians, including adult neurology, sleep medicine, pulmonary medicine, endocrinology, nephrology and developmental pediatrics. Community Care also has specialists, but both organizations consist mostly of primary care doctors, though they also operate urgent care centers. Doctors who are members have access to central offices that handle billing and other back-office operations and a staff that can facilitate the purchase, installation and maintenance of new technologies.

"Our goal in the consolidation is to incorporate the best that each of our organizations has to offer to truly create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts," Hayner said.

She said efficiencies that lower costs are anticipated -- including reduced duplicate medical testing when patients are referred between physicians -- and reduction of paperwork.

The organization will have physicians in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren and Fulton counties.

Community Care was formed in the 1980s, and CapitalCare was created in 1998. Both have made local "best places to work" lists.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

 

 

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