St. Peter's Health Partners, Albany, N.Y., has created a fully affiliated physician practice with its existing medical group and five others, establishing an organization of more than 250 doctors.
The new organization, St. Peter's Health Partners Medical Associates, began operating Jan. 1 and practices in more than 40 locations through five counties in central New York. The deal means new employees for St. Peter's—106 physicians, 30 advanced practitioners and 451 others who were employed by the newly affiliated practices. The group now numbers 257 physicians and 66 advanced practitioners.
"SPHP is committed to sponsoring a medical group practice with the sophistication, size, guiding principles and sustainability to be our partner in our mission, our business and our strategic objectives," Donald Martin, vice president of physician enterprise for St. Peter's Health Partners, said in a news release (PDF)
. "It is a way for us to jointly prepare for the challenges we face as providers of healthcare and to ensure quality healthcare for our community."
St. Peter's Health Partners is a secular organization that formed in 2011
when St. Peter's Hospital combined with three other Albany-area hospitals—Albany Memorial and St. Mary's and Samaritan, both of Troy, N.Y. St. Peter's and St. Mary's kept their Catholic identities after the deal.
The proliferation of similar physician-governed practices served as a catalyst to create St. Peter's Health Partners Medical Associates, said officials, who singled out as examples of such organizations those at the Cleveland Clinic, Geisinger Health System, Danville, Pa., and Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City.
"Affiliating with a quality system, while retaining physician leadership and governance, is critical to the model for physician practice in the future," Dr. John Bashant, president of Prime Care Physicians—an affiliate of the new medical group—said in the release.
Officials hope for better coordination of care and physician participation, saying doctors will be able to retain the positive aspects of private practices while administering care under this new model.
St. Peter's Health Partners' board would have approval of the practice's budgets, but officials said the practices will still be physician-governed. Seven primary-care physicians will join a 13-member board of directors that will oversee the new group. Physician committees within each affiliated practice will make operating decisions, while smaller groups will form practice operating committees. The larger groups will form joint operating committees, which would make decisions affecting multiple practices.
The groups involved already have ties with St. Peter's, and their affiliations will allow St. Peter's to better recruit physicians and to make capital improvements, as well as to make infrastructure changes such as investing in an electronic medical-record system, the organization said in the release.
The new group will consist of Pulmonary & Critical Care Services; Braverman-Panza Medical Group; William Hennessey GYN; Altamont Pediatrics and Internal Medicine; plus seven divisions of Prime Care Physicians. St. Peter's also announced the purchase of four other facilities that the medical group will operate in the future—Prime Care Urgent Care, Prime Care Imaging and two sleep centers operated by Pulmonary & Critical Care Associates.