Tribune-Courier General Manager
In keeping with a trend which is becoming increasingly more commonplace in the era of health care reform, another group of Marshall County doctors has joined a physician network - turning the business aspect of running their physician practice over to a management organization.
The founding physicians of Regional Medical Associates in Draffenville have joined Mercy Medical Associates (MMA), managed by Paducah’s Lourdes Hospital. As part of the management agreement Drs. Andrew Porter, Richard Colburn and Edwin Perez, along with three nurse practitioners, joined the Mercy Primary Care network in March. They are hopeful the arrangement will ultimately lead to enhanced outcomes for patients of the practice.
Lee Syphus, vice president of Mercy Medical Associates, Kentucky Region, said providers are partnering with physician networks for a number of reasons including the achievement of clinical integration, efficiency in consolidated service offerings, electronic medical records data capture and the savings that can be achieved in sharing services.
“Since becoming a member of the MMA family the providers at Mercy Primary Care-Marshall County have easy access to their colleagues from a variety of specialties for advance referrals. Above all, it provides patients with the benefit of coordinated care, greater access to their provider and less administrative burden in the practice.” said Syphus.
Physicians in private practice are joining networks at a fast pace across the country due in part to shrinking Medicare reimbursements, costly computer program upgrades to keep pace with Medicaid coding changes and the unknown of the Affordable Care Act.
That trend has found Marshall County doctors jumping onboard. Marshall County physician, Dr. Terri Telle, whose office is located in Reidland, rejoined the Lourdes Hospital-managed group two years ago, following several years in a stand-alone practice. Dr. Bradley Albertson also joined MMA in November and relocated his Internal Medicine/Pediatric practice to the Draffenville facility.
“It’s all about partnering together to better enhance the outcomes of the patients we serve,” said Tenille Rushing, BSN CT, director of clinical quality and primary care operations with MMA. “The organization can use its collective resources to acquire state-of-the-art technology while cutting costs through economies of scale and other efficiencies.”
Rushing said MMA is currently evaluating the possibility of providing other specialty clinics within the Regional Medical offices in Draffenville. She said Dr. David Talley currently operates a cardiology satellite clinic one day a week there and the network is exploring the possibility of adding similar general surgery and gastroenterology services as well.
Patients of physicians who are part of MMA have access to MyChart, s secure website that allows access to personal health information over a secure connection.
David Simmons, Lourdes Director of Marketing and Communications said patients can use MyChart to request doctors’ appointments, ask questions, check lab results and refill prescriptions.
“MyChart allows patients to gain more control over their own healthcare-right at home.” Said Simmons.
Drs. Andrew Porter and Richard Colburn originally opened Regional Medical Associates in 1997 and began leasing space within the building to other medically related services.